Reporting Levon Putney
NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – A New Jersey anti-violence group sponsored its own kind of weapons buyback program aimed at children.
WCBS 880′s Levon Putney In Newark
Newark-based group Stop Shootin’ Inc. held a toy gun exchange program at Mildred Helms Park on Monday.
Mayor Cory Booker said a shooting near the toy gun exchange event illustrates just how vital such initiatives are to curbing the cycle of violence.
Several dozen children clutching water pistols and cap guns were lined up to exchange their fake weapons for books and non-violent toys, including hockey sticks and pucks from the New Jersey Devils, basketballs and Barbie dolls, as word spread a shooting with a real gun had taken place just blocks away.
Booker says Monday’s gunfire was from a man accidentally shooting and injuring himself.
Newark City Councilman Ras Baraka says more children and teenagers die each year from gunfire than from cancer, the flu, HIV/AIDS or other causes combined.
Newark has seen one of its most violent summers in a decade.
On Sunday, two men were killed in separate shootings. Anthony Davis, 19, was shot around 1:40 a.m. on Fabyan Place and was pronounced dead at University Hospital two hours later.
Frederick Smith, 24, died after being shot multiple times around 2:30 a.m. on Eastern Parkway.
Stop Shootin’ says ending the cycle of violence must start with the young. Organizers say toy guns make children comfortable with real weapons.
Baraka plans to hold an anti-crime protest this Friday called “24 Hours of Peace, Unity and an End to the Violence in Our Community.”
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