Missouri ranked No. 2 in black homicides

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Week after week, murders and gun violence among blacks dominate headlines in Kansas City, but Kansas City isn't the only place where it seems to be the case. The entire state of Missouri holds the No. 2 spot when it comes to the black homicide rates in the U.S.

According the Violence Policy Center, in 2011 there were 235 black homicide victims in Missouri; 92 percent of those victims were killed with guns.

Pat Clarke founded the People's Action Committee, a grass-roots organization committed to putting and end to gun violence and revitalizing the urban core.

"Gun violence is no different than drug violence. We don't bring the drugs no more than we bring the guns in," Clarke said.

Clarke's position is shared by Dewanna O'Guinn. Her son's life lines up with the VPC's grim statistics.

At the age of 20, Ashton O'Guinn was shot to death in April 2012. Although police are still looking for his killer, Dewanna believes it was someone who knew him.

"Over the duration of a year, he picked up a lot of new friends. I'm certain one of the new friends were the ones that ended my son's life," O'Guinn said.

O'Guinn has worked tirelessly since her son's murder to help change the culture of guns and violence in Kansas City and she's not alone.

Clarke said it's easy to count the killings but the focus needs to be on stopping them.

"We need leadership workshops, we need leadership training. We need to teach these kids how to be a man. We need to go back as a race, as a community and start building leadership again," he said.

According to VPC, Nebraska is the state with the highest black homicide rate in 2011. For more on the VPC report click here.

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