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Mayor Lucas, Gov. Parson address violence in Kansas City

Parson and Lucas presser
Posted at 2:24 PM, Oct 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-22 22:00:13-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas and Missouri Gov. Mike Parson met Tuesday in Kansas City to discuss violence in the metro.

Parson and Lucas were joined by Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith. The conversation centered on violence and how to reduce it.

There have been 122 homicides in Kansas City in 2019 alone. Both officials and community members want the violence to stop.

"Kansas City, we've got to do something," said Rosilyn Temple, executive director of KC Mothers in Charge. "The talk has to stop, action, we need action."

Temple lost her son to gun violence and now leads KC Mothers in Charge, an organization helping families going through what she experienced in 2011.

"We all got issues, but we need to help them address them and get them the proper help they need to deal with conflict, to disagree to agree, to walk away, and say I don't have to agree with her but I'm not going to go back and kill her or hurt her," Temple said.

Lucas called Tuesday's meeting productive, stating a request for funding from the state budget was made for mental health services for victims and first responders. Guns were a main topic of discussion and the impact gun violence has on the Kansas City community.

"You just heard us talk about witness protection, we certainly talked about giving police officers the tools they need to help fight violent crime," Lucas said. "I know that's something the governor’s interested in, and we talked about how we can have precise treatment for mental health, addressing those trauma victims, addressing those victims of violent crime long-term."

Parson said he's focused on finding long-term solutions to prevent violence from growing.

"I think repeat offender, you've got to be taking a look at things like that, you know, what's the effect of that, what's the effect of juveniles out here running around with guns, what's the circumstances prior to that, how many arrest records have they had, you know things like that need to be part of the discussion," Parson said. "I'm not saying I have the answer today, but I'm saying all of those things need to be on the table and see what we iron out."

Temple told 41 Action News she wants less talk and more action when it comes to combating crime. Parson said changes are happening.

"To your point exactly, I think people are tired of hearing people make speeches about this, but I think that is exactly why we're meeting today with the mayor and the chief," Parson said. "I think one of the things we directed up here is what are we actually getting done, and I think that's what we're all focused on. I think that's why we're here today."

Lucas joined other Missouri mayors in Springfield last week to discuss violence concerns in several cities and how they could work together to solve the issues.