LOUISVILLE, Ky. — According to the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD), Louisville is on track to set a record number of homicides by gun violence in 2020, compared to the last five years. In 2016, Louisville saw a total of 101 homicides due to gun violence. Only seven and a half months into 2020, Louisville has seen 98 fatal shootings.

What You Need To Know

  • Louisville sees rising number of homicides by gun violence

  • Local funeral home, community activist respond, offer services to the community

  • Funeral home offers free funeral and cremation services to innocent victims of gun violence

Anthony Oxedine, owner of Spring Valley Funeral Home and Cremation in Louisville, has seen an increase in business this year, but from clientele he prefers weren’t the case.

“We definitely have a rise in gun violence in the city. I’m not sure for sure where it’s coming from, if it’s because we don’t have school going on and activities for our kids,” Oxedine said.

According to LMPD homicide crime data, Louisville has seen a total of 362 non-fatal shootings so far this year. Since August started, there have been 17 criminal homicides so far, and there are still two weeks left in the month.

Christopher 2X (Chris) runs the non-profit Game Changers that works to end violence through early childhood education, parental involvement, and mentoring. He says this amount of gun violence is unprecedented, but it also didn’t happen overnight. From his point of view, it’s many years in the making, and he said the issues start within the neighborhoods.

“Depleted neighborhoods. The poverty that’s gotten introduced into it. It’s just a lack of at least the energy in the neighborhoods to feel hope, and if you don’t feel hope you’ll feel anger, you’ll feel frustration, and then you look at the saturation of guns, whether legal or illegal, leads to an explosion in the neighborhood as it relates to this gunplay. It’s pretty simple math on my part,” Chris explained.

Chris said the shooters and victims are becoming younger, aged 25 and under, from what he has witnessed working within neighborhoods affected by gun violence.

Just like Chris said the issues start in the neighborhood, he believes they are also resolved by the neighborhood.

“And it doesn’t just start with intervention with a shooter. It’s educational volunteerism. It’s many layers of volunteerism that changes the atmosphere of how shooters evolve,” Chris told Spectrum News 1.

Chris recommends that community members get involved in their community in any way they feel comfortable, like volunteering with educational programs, becoming a mentor to a young person, or educating oneself about gun violence.

“Be willing to understand that people affected by gunfire and kids that hear gunfire are traumatized. Understand the signs. See how you can reach out to different ways and means to help this issue,” Chris suggested.

Oxedine, a close friend of Chris, said he grew up in poverty in Eastern Kentucky. So while the increase in crime rings true on that level, it also hits another personal one, considering he's a father.

“I want to do anything I can to help these children… and I want them to know that my phone is open. They need someone to call to take them to a sports event; we will do that we will be there to help these children,” Oxedine said.

To help grieving families, Spring Valley Funeral Home and Cremation Services provides free funerals for the families of any innocent victim of gun violence in Kentuckiana. It is paid for by the state of Kentucky, Oxedine said. He also said that the funeral home will work with any family on any budget, and no one will ever be denied a funeral due to lack of funds. The funeral home also operates a 24/7 phone line people can call for assistance with groceries, mentorship for a child, and more at 502-742-8016.