MOBILE COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — Officials tell News 5 Saturday’s shooting sheds light on a larger issue in Mobile; teenagers committing violent crimes after getting their hands on guns.
Both District Attorney Ashley Rich and Judge Edmond Naman are passionate about the issue of teen violence, saying it’s something the community needs to address– which includes parents.
Two teenagers accused of opening fire on a crowd after a Mardi Gras parade are in jail without bond.
“Citizens have a right to enjoy Mardi Gras and be safe and feel safe and know these two individuals are locked up,” District Attorney Ashley Rich tells News 5.
The shooting, which can be heard on the video, injured a seven-year-old girl and another innocent bystander.
“I’m seeing an increase in guns period. I’m seeing children being brought in as of late, over the last two or three months we’re seeing more guns starting to pop up in the hands of children,” Judge Edmond Naman tells News 5. “Children that get arrested here for a gun charge will not get out until we can guarantee I can feel safe they are safe to themselves and safe to others in this community.”
In the last ten years, arrests for violent crimes committed by children in Mobile County have actually decreased more than fifty percent.
Law enforcement made 200 arrests in 2008 and just 81 in 2018.
But officials say just because the numbers are lower, doesn’t mean we still don’t have a serious problem like what we saw Saturday. “The criminals are becoming younger and their crimes are becoming more violent,” said District Attorney Rich.
Judge Naman says parents need to step up. “It is so important that parents get involved now. Don’t come to me afterwards crying and complaining please go easy on my son who’s just been accused of having a weapon or using that weapon against somebody. The time is now for parents to act. The time is now to know what’s going on in these children’s lives before it’s too late.”