LEXINGTON, Ky. — Following the deadly shooting inside Fayette Mall in Lexington, which left one teenager dead, and another teen behind bars accused of murder, leaders in Kentucky’s second-largest city are discussing the city’s response to recent crimes involving teenagers.

The Mayor’s office says since April 21, six teenagers have died in the city due to gun violence and because of that, leaders are ramping up resources to support teens and their families who may be experiencing emotional trauma.

"Everyone agrees that we are in a difficult time. But we also agree that this is not the time to give up,” said Chief Lawrence Weathers of Lexington Police.

Several local criminal justice agencies met Thursday to ask the community to step up and help keep young people out of trouble.

"No matter who you are, if you are anybody who has contact with our youth, it’s our community’s responsibility to help our young people. We need to help them get to a better future, because some of the ones we talk to think they don’t have one,” adds Weather

Lexington Mayor Gorton also shared that COVID-19 has made it more difficult to address the issues that young people and their families are facing.

“In a pandemic, young people are much more isolated, jobs are harder to find church services and school classes are virtual. No football. No basketball. No soccer practice. At every turn our young people are cut off from the people who might normally help them,” explains Gorton

Leaders plan to keep raising awareness about mental health and counseling options available in Lexington that provide a mixture of free and affordable services. 

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