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One is too many when teenagers are being killed

“One is too many.”

That’s what city Police Chief Damon Hagan had to say on Monday following another deadly shooting involving a teenage victim on Friday night.

The slaying of 16-year-old Riley McDowell, the second minor killed by gunfire in the city in the past four months, is not only sad but horrific. Who would have ever imagined that children would be the victims of gunfire in this city, and so frequently?

On July 28, a 17-year-old boy was wounded near Almond and Meade Streets. Two days later, Ayliem Coleman, 16, was shot to death in the 900 block of Market Street. No arrests have been made in these cases.

Anyone with information on any of these crimes should share it with police, who may be reached at 570-327-7547. Police need all of the help they can get in bringing the killers to justice and have said that information may be shared anonymously.

The saying in our post-911 world has been: “If you see something, say something.” Now is the time for us to take it one step further: “If you know something, say something.” We as a community need to band together and do everything possible to bring an end to what we fear could become a really ugly trend. The welfare of our children may depend on our willingness to step forward. Now is not the time to avoid being labeled “a snitch.”

“This is the third juvenile shot in the city in four months. That’s the truth,” Hagan told the Sun-Gazette. “I wish the number was zero.”

So do we, Chief Hagan. So do we.

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