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Violent day of gunfire in Newark

August 18, 2009 3:41:14 PM PDT
Over an eight hour stretch of time, a young woman and five others were shot in Newark. That woman and her grandmother were shot as they sat in their Irvine Turner Blvd home when stray bullets came through the walls.

Four and a half hours later during a memorial for a 14 year old Bloods member shot dead on Monday, a 31 year old man was shot in the chest and arm.

One hour later at 62 Kearney street, three men with past felony gun and drug convictions were shot in the legs, one in the chest.

The gunfire did not end until 1:13 a.m. on 18th street. One man fired at another, and then at police, who return fire. No one was hit.

At the street memorial scene, I asked community activists about the causes and solutions to the violence.

One father told me he has no control over his kid wearing gang colors, flashing gang signs.

"You do need more fathers standing up, I agree with that. You do need more men standing up, I agree with that," Earl Best said.

And they talk about the impact of poverty, driving kids to gang life.

"A man was shot, kids broke in his house stole cookies, cereal, and milk. These kids are hungry. We're talking poverty of 28 percent, so if parents can't take care of the kids, the street will," El-Amin Scarborough said.

Scarborough's contribution to a cure -- Life skills classes. The teens are being paid to be here, learning how to land a job and stretch a paycheck instead of looking to the streets.

But activists say a key component was lost when the neighborhood Boys and Girls Club was shut down a year ago. It ran out of money.

Today, we found little boys, instead, hanging at the memorial for a murdered gang member.

Mayor Booker today on Twitter wrote three solutions to violence are in the works. A new police class begins this month to put more officers on the streets. They'll add more public safety cameras. Booker also said he'll push for more community support for young people.

With a night of Newark violence as a backdrop, we visited both major candidates for governor today.

Incumbent Jon Corzine touts a dramatic drop in crime during his tenure as he targets gang violence statewide.

In the first six months of last year there were 209 murders. So far this year in New Jersey, it's down to 158.

Corzine today also talked of how he and his opponent Chris Christie differ on crime, especially on gun control.

"My opponent was opposed to one gun a month bill. It's ridiculous to think that people should just be able to pull up to the local gun shop and load up 25 or 30 guns in their back seat," Corzine argued.

Christie has hardly conceded the issue of how to fight urban crime. His plan includes banning parole for anyone using a gun in a crime. He's also pushing for better schools and more charter schools.

On this week's violence in Newark, he says Corzine's must take some blame.

"And this crime is just an indication of 14 percent unemployment rate in the city of Newark. The governor has got to take some responsibility for that because of his failed economic policies," Christie said.

Newark's mayor who backs Corzine actually spoke highly of both candidates on crime today. He wants not just them, but all of us focused and talking about how to stop crime like we saw last night in Newark.

"This is something we're going to have to all take responsibility for. We are making progress in the city of Newark, but I am a mayor that is not satisfied," Booker said.


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