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Safe Streets Baltimore Shows Crime Plan To Senator Van Hollen Following Murder Of Two Teens

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- With two teens shot and killed in Baltimore City in the past week, Safe Streets Baltimore showed Senator Van Hollen Wednesday how they aim to stop the violence.

"They work every night in the community," Dante Johnson of Safe Streets told the Senator.

"Instead of them going out and shooting and killing them, they'll get with us and we get them and give them resources out in the streets instead of them trying to hurt somebody," added Lamont Holt, who also works with Safe Streets.

The Senator visited Baltimore to highlight the projects he is trying to secure more federal funding for, including Safe Streets.

"Our idea is to provide funds that go to organizations at the local level," the Senator (D-Maryland) said Wednesday.

And Safe Streets said they have seen some success with their program.

But even with their work, on Tuesday afternoon, 15-year-old Jhosy Portillo became the latest victim.

"I'm gonna miss his laugh, I'm gonna miss his smile," cried Autumn Piper, a childhood friend of Portillo's who grew up down the street from him.

Johnson said news of Portillo's death saddens their hearts, especially when it's a child of Baltimore City.

"It's unacceptable," echoed Sen. Van Hollen.

Portillo's father, Jose, is still in disbelief, hoping he'll wake up from a nightmare. "Somebody tell me it's not true," he told WJZ in an interview Tuesday night.

As a memorial for his son grows bigger with more flowers and candles on the sidewalk and a sign that reads: "Highlandtown loves you forever - rest in peace, sweet Jhosy."

Commissioner Michael Harrison commented on the death of these two teens on Wednesday and said, "anybody who knows anything about either of these crimes, please call us right away or you can call crime stoppers anonymously to help us change this culture of violence - this has to stop."

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