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Community reacts to shooting of 15-year-old at Southlands mall in Aurora: "We've lost our way"

Community reacts to shooting of 15-year-old at Southlands mall
Community reacts to shooting of 15-year-old at Southlands mall 02:38

The investigation into a shooting that left a teenager dead over the weekend continued on Monday. The shooting happened in the parking lot of the Southlands shopping district at about 8:30 p.m. on Saturday

That night was a lively one at Southlands. It was homecoming for Grandview and Smoky Hill high schools- a night teens should have been celebrating with their friends.


But instead, a 15-year-old boy was fatally shot in the parking lot of Southlands mall. Investigators say it was a pre-planned meeting between those involved.

"More than likely, right? And some of these kids are shooting a gun for the first time in their lives and didn't know that this was going to kill somebody. So how do we help those kids too?," said Joel Hodge, or "Coach Eye," who runs Struggle of Love, a nonprofit supporting underprivileged youth. 

"From June of last year to June of this year we responded to 60 shootings, but out of those 60, 50 of those we were able to get no retaliation, grief support, get them into a new home, and those kids were mentored and now they're back on the right path," said Hodge. 

Hodge says youth violence can often be attributed to a lack of family structure, economic instability, and mental health challenges. 

"We've lost our way. We're just trying to get back to the structure we need," said Hodge. 

For him, news of Saturday's fatal shooting hits deep. 

"Disgust, anger, sadness," said Hodge. 


And strengthens his resolve to break the cycle. 

"We got to keep the fight and keep doing what we do. It's just a long battle to transform the situation that we're in," said Hodge, "we need everybody's hands, everybody to touch in and spread love all around the community, no matter what race and gender, we need everybody." 

Several business owners tell CBS Colorado they heard those shots and the ensuing chaos. They shared their sadness and fear over the shooting. Some are now urging the mall to increase security. 

Aurora police told CBS News Colorado they were already in the process of assigning a dedicated officer to the Southlands mall this week. Going forward there will always be one there. Increased patrols have also been in place since the shooting. They say there is no known threat to shoppers. 

Aurora police are asking those in the area to check their security cameras for video of the incident. Police have not reported any arrests in this case.

UPDATE: Police chief issues warning to family of Aurora murder suspect: "Be part of the solution, not part of the problem"

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