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"We need to do something about it." Local groups speak out against gun violence

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(WSIL)---In August--SIU Freshman Keeshanna Jackson was shot and killed while at a party.

She was 18 years old.

"Ok we think Chicago is one of the worst places for gun violence. That mother sent Keeshanna here. Expecting in this quiet southern Illinois town, that she would be safe. Six days later she was murdered, in our community, on our watch," said Jane Otte from the Southern Illinois chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

Over a month later, the FBI and Carbondale police are offering reward money in exchange for information.

Jackson is not the only one with this story.

In 2020, there were over 19,000 deaths by gun violence, up 30% from the year prior.

Mount Vernon police say their department contrasts the national numbers.

Their department reports numbers are going down.

"So from January to today, for the same time last year, we've had about a 25% reduction in gunshot calls, and about a 37% reduction in actual shootings or stabbings or similar call like that," said Assistant Chief Robert Brands.

Despite the good news for the Mount Vernon area, some believe it's not enough for numbers to simply decline.

"The death of our children because of gun violence, that's the second leading cause of death for our kids in the United States. It's the first leading cause of Black children, our black children in the United States. So it's a critical issue," said Otte.

Otte went to Jackson's vigil and hopes others will help make sure more young children are not also lost to gun violence.

"I can't disregard that. This young woman died here. And we need to do something about it," said Otte.

To join Moms Demand Action, text READY to 64433.

Multimedia Journalist

Madeline Parker is a Multimedia Journalist at News 3 WSIL. Madeline joined the team in 2020 and graduated from Southern Illinois University Carbondale with a Bachelor’s in Electronic Journalism and a minor in Communication Studies.

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