TPD creates new event to raise awareness of gun violence

The event is called Stop The Violence, Family Fun Day, and people gathered at Al Barnes Park on Saturday.

TAMPA, Fla. — Ongoing violence prompted the Tampa Police Department and the community to gather at Al Barnes Park in Tampa on Saturday for a new annual event called Stop The Violence, Family Fun Day.

The event included music, games and raffles for family fun. Other organizations dedicated to reducing violent crime were also present.

Community partners and police said they hope building trust and bonding with each other is necessary to reduce violent crime.

“That’s what it’s for here,” said Maj. Calvin Johnson of the Tampa police in District 3. “Seeing us all together on the same page, pushing the same message.”

The event included a partnership with Rise Up For Peace, led by families who have lost loved ones to gun violence. Many families said their loved ones died from being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“I’m here for them. I’m going to fight for them too,” said founder Patricia Brown.

She lost her son Devante Brown two years ago in a shooting. His killer has still not been found.

“It’s a pain I wouldn’t wish on anyone,” said Annie Kwarteng.

Kwarteng lost her son Jay Jay two years ago to gun violence. He was 18 years old.

She has since established the Jay Jay Forever Foundation, Inc. in his honor. Nonprofit hopefuls by exposing young people to different opportunities can give them something to look forward to and ensure they are on the right track.

“We will definitely save the lives of these children,” Kwarteng said. “We just have to show them that they just need another outlet.”

Tampa police said they have seen 19 homicides so far this year. There have been at least 88 shootings so far, according to its most recent database.

Murders and violent crimes across the country have increased over the past year.

In Tampa, the department said there were 243 shootings in 2021 and at least 45 homicides.

Authorities said the public can provide advice and information anonymously through its TIP 411 line.

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