Beloit community impacted by gun violence gathers to call for change

Published: Jan. 15, 2022 at 10:46 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 16, 2022 at 1:47 PM CST
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BELOIT, Wis. (WMTV) - Ending gun violence in Beloit. That’s one woman’s mission after the loss of her cousin in 2020, and why she has brought the community together to discuss what can be done to prevent it from happening again.

Alexcia Payton lost her cousin Chelsey Payton to a senseless act of gun violence in October 2020. She says shots rang out a party and believes Chelsey was caught in the crossfire. But more than a year later, no arrests have been made in her cousin’s case, leaving the family with many unanswered questions.

“Her immediate family is wanting those answers,” Alexcia said. “They’re wanting that help, wanting that person to come forward.”

Chelsey’s death is one of dozens of gun related incidents over the years that have shaken the Beloit community.

Alexcia’s mother, Carrie Harrell-Payton, says the city is unrecognizable.

“This is not the community I grew up in,” she said. “It is just so unlike Beloit.”

It’s why Alexcia organized We Hear You, Now Hear Us -- an event held at a local Beloit church for families, clergy members and the community to gather to share their experiences with gun violence and call for change.

“We have a serious gun violence issue in this city, it has beyond gotten out of control,” said Alexcia. “We want to open the lines of communication between the Beloit community and between the police department.”

Beloit Police, including chief Andre Sayles, were invited to the event but were unable to attend. Even without law enforcement present, Alexcia says sharing stories about how gun violence personally impacts people can still bring about change.

‘This is the concern from the community,” she said. “How can we work together to open the lines of communication to take back our community and convince them to put the guns down?”

In a statement to NBC15, Chief Sayles said: “The City of Beloit Police Department values the voices of those impacted by violence. We understand that many in our community are grieving due to gun violence, and we will continue to actively investigate these cases. We intend to hold community forums in multiple locations this spring that will be professionally moderated.”

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