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Rep. Cummings: 'Black Lives Have To Matter To Black People'

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- The nonstop spike in crime from month to month has one of Maryland's top congressional leaders begging for an end to what he calls "black on black" violence.

Marcus Washington with more on Congressman Elijah Cummings' emotional call for peace.

It's not often we see a man beg publicly, but that is what's happening when it comes to the homicides and shootings in Baltimore. Congressman Cummings is not alone, as he is begging for it to stop.

It's the constant tragedy that is becoming normality in Baltimore City. Each month, city police are recording some of the highest homicides per month in decades.

"And so I'm begging you--put your guns down--put your guns down and allow people to live," said Congressman Elijah Cummings.

Rep. Cummings has watched the place where he was born and raised his family face violence that has left a number of young people dead, while those behind the crimes continue to run free.

"I've stopped by here to beg the public to cooperate with the police. When you stand back and don't do anything, all you do is allow a murderer to go out there and do it again," he said.

The weeks following the death of Freddie Gray, Congressman Cummings says he thinks back to the moments when demonstrators were chanting.

"I hear over and over again, 'Black lives matter, black lives matter.' And they do matter. But black lives also have to matter to black people," said Rep. Cummings.

Baltimore City police report the majority of the black lives violently lost in the city are at the hands of other blacks.

"Part of the problem is that some of these young men, nobody has even taught them how to resolve certain issues without attempting to take a man's life," said Tim Sutton.

Sutton is a former gang member. Now he's a community activist and minister.

Washington: "What could someone have said to stop you from doing what you were doing?"

Sutton: "To have someone who has been through some things change their life and show them that their current situation isn't their final destination."

A destination that will leave Baltimore City looking different.

"We want to make sure that our city is a safe city," Rep. Cummings said.

Congressman Cummings went on to say that nobody is truly winning in this except morticians.

Baltimore City police say they don't keep statistics of black on black crime, but they were able to tell WJZ that the majority of their homicides where the victim was black, the suspect was of the same race.

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