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Public Forum Held In Wilkinsburg, New Gun Violence Safety Program Unveiled

WILKINSBURG (KDKA) -- Stopping shootings and other violence in Wilkinsburg was the topic of a public safety forum.

Police, local leaders and activists unveiled a new gun violence safety program on Tuesday night.

After a jury recently found Cheron Shelton not guilty in the Wilkinsburg mass shooting trial, residents remain deeply disturbed no one has been held accountable.

Tuesday's packed public safety meeting was evidence of their commitment to stop the violence.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

"Residents are feeling that, they're feeling the uncertainty. That's even more reason why having the public safety forums initiative," said Wilkinsburg Mayor Marita Garrett.

The Wilkinsburg police and Allegheny County police addressed the overwhelming need to curb gun violence.

"Wilkinsburg, outside of the city, has the highest number of homicides in Allegheny County," said Chief Coleman McDonough, superintendent of the county police.

MAD DADS and a gun violence prevention group unveiled a new plan, "Cure Violence," where the community will work with police to stop the shootings.

"Working together and bringing the community together is always the answer," said Diane Daniels, President of the East Hills Consensus Group.

The mother whose teen daughter was shot to death in Wilkinsburg in November started "Elarrah's Angels" in her honor to help others.

"Even though something occurred with her family, she still wants to be present and for the violence to stop," said Talaina Peterson, Elarrah Findlay's aunt.

But emotions spilled over as questions and protestors came in to try and get answers about the officer-involved shooting of Romir Talley in Wilkinsburg in December.

Wilkinsburg's longtime police chief had strong words for her police force and those trying to interrupt the greater good of the safety forum.

"Under my regime, I have never had an officer-involved shooting and I've been here for 13 years," said Wilkinsburg Police Chief Ophelia Coleman.

The emotions continued outside but police were able to peacefully move everyone on their way.

Wilkinsburg was handpicked for the national Cure Violence program, which uses outreach workers and violence interrupters in the community.

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