RAYTOWN, Mo. — Continued violence has pushed many Raytown residents to their breaking point and now they are demanding change.
It comes after 17-year-old Rayauna Hill was shot an killed on June 15 at Sarah Colman-Livengood Park with several people around.
Another teen, 19-year-old Riley McCrakin, was shot in an alley last March behind Raytown Recreation Pool and Billards.
One week later, two people were killed at an apartment complex on East 83rd Street.
The senseless deaths have frustrated the community.
"This is out of control for a city,” Raytown resident Leilani Haywood said. "I’ve just noticed this surge in the last three months in crime and I think Rayauna Hill’s death here, I mean, it was like a punch in the stomach.”
Haywood and others, like Carolyn Whitney, want to do something about it.
"This is just the beginning of the summer, so can we be innovative enough, prevention oriented enough to make something like that happen,” Raytown resident Whitney said.
The Raytown Chapel Church is near the park where the latest shooting happened, and Pastor Angie Colina-McNeil said while they know there’s violence that happens, she’s surprised by this uptick.
"I didn’t know that within the first year that I would be out in the community that we’d have as much violence as we’ve had," she said.
The woman are collaborating on ways to make Raytown a safer place to live.
One suggestion is create a 30-day program to bring teens together, because Whitney said when they’re having fun and busy, violence takes a back seat.
"Our youth are not realizing the value of life sometimes. We’re losing our children and we have to get on board,” Whitney said.
Others, like Haywood, would also like to see meetings between the different stakeholders in town to create a plan moving forward.
"My hope is that we have some kind of an event, a meeting, a coming together, you know, where we can share resources because everyone has something they can offer to help resolve this problem. It’s going to take all of this stepping up to the plate," she said.
The Raytown Chapel Church is holding a pop-up community event for youth about every other Wednesday in Sarah Colman-Livengood Park.
If you have any information regarding the latest homicide you are urged to call the TIPS hotline. That number is 816-474-TIPS (8477).