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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Nine months in to 2021, the city of Huntsville has seen 19 gun related homicides and a homicide investigator with the Huntsville Police Department says the numbers continue to trend upwards year after year.

Faith in Action Alabama Huntsville joined with guest speakers on Thursday night to share personal stories of how gun violence has impacted their lives and careers in hopes of brining awareness and change.

Two Huntsville City School students, Deu’nta Moore and Kyreon Bone are among those who’ve lost their lives to gun violence this year, which is what inspired LaGarrette Crawford to organize Thursday’s gathering.

“The two students who lost their lives earlier this year at Mae Jemison High School, I had the privilege to hold a basketball ministry last summer. And those two individuals used to come to that basketball ministry. Once I found out it was them that lost their lives to gun violence, I got really serious about getting something moved right here in the city,” says LaGarrette Crawford.

Huntsville Hospital emergency physician Dr. Monica Williams says she frequently works to help gunshot victims and says gun violence is a growing problem.

“This week I found out from a HEMSI representative that there have been 96 calls for gunshot wounds in Madison county so far for 2021,” says Dr. Williams.

Huntsville Police Department homicides investigator Julian Johnson says many homicides involve young people and are senseless.

“Guns are not the answer, drugs are not the answer, the streets are not the answer. Being a follower is not the answer. A simple crime could ruin you for the rest of your life,” says officer Johnson.

Johnson says a part of the solution to this problem is early intervention and mentoring young people who are at disadvantages before they find themselves involved in criminal activity.

Faith in Action wants community leaders, elected officials, and the faith community to get involved in finding solutions to curb gun violence in the city of Huntsville.