Goldsboro community, city leaders call for gun-violence solutions

Sean Coffey Image
Wednesday, June 12, 2024
Goldsboro community, city leaders call for gun violence solutions
More than 100 people attended a special city council meeting to address a rise in violent crime.

GOLDSBORO, N.C. (WTVD) -- On Tuesday night, more than 100 people -- including Goldsboro city leaders and law enforcement officials -- attended a special city council meeting to address a rise in crime in the city. It comes less than a week after an 18-year-old was shot and killed in the middle of the day at a Food Lion on West Ash Street.

At that session, Police Chief Mike West addressed the mayor and city council and vowed to crack down on a rise in "part one crime" -- the most serious offenses -- that have been on the rise since 2021, after a seven-year period of decline.

"I know I sound frustrated because I am, but I take this personally. This is personally bothering me," a frustrated West told councilmembers.

In the short term -- and with the typically high-crime summer season here -- West said their strategy needs to start with more officers on the streets.

"We've got to walk through these communities at 1 in the morning. We've got to, and we've got to find these guns, and we've got to find these individuals that are responsible for this," he said.

City Councilwoman Beverly Weeks said she wants to see an even more proactive approach to the issue.

"We need to start mentoring these young men and these young women," Weeks said. "We need to start providing support services services for them. We need to provide mental health services. We need to provide programs that they can actually be a part of."

But the sting of violent crime in Goldsboro is painful for families who have already been touched by it. That includes people like Maria Bell, whose 15-year old niece Joyonna Pearsall was gunned down at a pool party last April.

"I'm hoping and praying that our leaders will do something immediately about these guns. They got to get this situation under control," she said.

Bell said she was encouraged by Tuesday's turnout but wants to see action -- quickly.

"We are all on one accord about it's got to be a change. It's got to be something done. I mean, even if it means putting our security team of officers in every project area hotspots or wherever this is, put them out there," she said.

West said GPD stands prepared to partner with the US Attorney's Office, the ATF, the ALE, and the Wayne County Sheriff's Office to get any additional resources they can to combat crime.