ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — In response to a double shooting at the Bellview Ballpark two weeks ago, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office will host a roundtable event to address gun violence in the community.

On Saturday, Oct. 1, deputies were called to Bellview Ballpark, where they found a 22-year-old dead and another injured.

“This was not a random act,” said Simmons in a press conference when discussing the shooting on Oct. 3. “These are not people that climb a fence and decide to shoot the first person they see. These are individuals that had a disagreement, went there and approached the two individuals and that led to gunfire. We counted at least 15 rounds, but there are probably more. Imagine if one of those projectiles had hit an innocent child. It’s not too hard to imagine. It’s horrific.”

Those who are scheduled to attend the roundtable event include:

  • Escambia County Sheriff Chip Simmons
  • Florida District 1 Senator Doug Broxson
  • Florida House Representative for District 1 Michelle Salzman
  • Florida House Representative for District 2 Alex Andrade
  • State Attorney Ginger Bowden Madden
  • District 1 County Commissioner and Chairman Jeff Bergosh
  • District 2 County Commissioner Mike Kohler
  • District 3 County Commissioner Lumon May
  • District 4 County Commissioner Robert Bender
  • City of Pensacola Mayor Elect D.C. Reeves
  • District 7 Pensacola City Council Member Delarian Wiggins
  • Pensacola Chief of Police Eric Randal
  • Pastor of Greater Little Rock Baptist Church Lonnie Davis Wesley III

County Commissioner Jeff Bergosh told WKRG News 5 on Wednesday that safety in his district is priority number one.

“Everything else comes from that,” said Bergosh. “If you don’t have a safe athletic field or a park for your kid, or school, or business, or streets, or any of that, then what do you have? That is why we dropped everything we are doing and made this priority number one.”

As of right now, no suspects have been arrested in connection to the Bellview park shooting. Bergosh said he stands behind the sheriff’s department and is sure they will find the suspects.

“Whatever the sheriff needs from us, from the county, he is going to have my complete support,” said Bergosh. “Citizens need to feel safe.”

With all of the officials in one room, Bergosh said if the names of the suspects haven’t been found yet, he hopes the people in the room would implore citizens to come forward. Bergosh said the reward is at $15,000.

“So, getting those names is number one,” said Bergosh. “Number two, we have to think about what we are going to do long-term to stop this. It seems like every year, things like this happen. People get in front of the camera and say we’ll do this to fix it, but nothing works. I think we have to look at what we can do in the short-term, mid-term and long-term.”

Bergosh said these shootings are happening because of the disintegration of nuclear families.

“Fathers are gone and kids don’t have good role models,” said Bergosh. “They become difficult in schools and then become statistics in our prison systems. So, we have got to find a way to break the cycle. We’ve got to find a way to keep families together. Maybe we need to start incentivizing that with tax policies that incentivize families to stay together instead of incentivizing fathers to leave by the government picking up their responsibilities.”

The event is scheduled for Oct. 18, at the Brownsville Community Center, starting at 5:30 p.m. According to the sheriff’s office, participants will be provided the opportunity to submit questions or comments in written form. They advise participants to arrive by 5 p.m. to submit questions or comments and the discussion will begin at 5:30 p.m.

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