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Harrisburg residents call for an end to gun violence at 'Town Hall for Justice'

Members of the community met at The Nativity School of Harrisburg to discuss the ongoing gun violence crisis in the city.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Community members filled the auditorium of The Nativity School of Harrisburg on Tuesday in hopes of finding a solution to end gun violence in Pennsylvania's capital city.

"We're running out of trees to wrap balloons around to 'RIP' the many kids whose blood is shedding on the soil," one Harrisburg resident said.

The ongoing gun violence crisis even led the Harrisburg Police Commissioner to ask a few questions.

"What’s the answer?" asked Commissioner Thomas Carter. "Why don’t we love ourselves?...Does the city/county have enough money for social services programs?" 

Another community member called for more collaboration between the police department and local organizations. 

"Myself and a group of men have been trying to work with you since 2016, and I know that if we had worked together that we wouldn't be in this position that we're in now," said Dr. Kevin Dolphin, the founder of local nonprofit Breaking the Chainz.

Other Harrisburg residents called on Dauphin County officials to bring in funding that specifically targets urban gun violence. That's a call state leaders answered in January when they rolled out $15 million in funding for gun violence prevention programs across the commonwealth.

Still, according to Dolphin, the work to end gun violence starts on the ground. 

"Until we can meet them where they [are] at, there's not gonna be a change," he said.

Tuesday's town hall was in honor of 21-year old Jason Hill, who was shot and killed in Harrisburg in 2020.

His family is offering a $30,000 reward for any information related to his killer. 

"For the sake of the mother who's lost her child, I beg the people who know to come forward," Francis Chardo, Dauphin County District Attorney pleaded.

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