LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- After a violent weekend, at least two more people were shot Monday in Louisville.
"My nephew just got shot in a drive-by," a woman outside University Hospital said Monday afternoon.
She said her young nephew and his friend are 13 and 16 years old, and she got a call saying they'd been shot off Osage Avenue.
"I'm trying to work, take care of my family, and I've got to leave work because my nephew is shot, and I don't know if he's going to live or die because he was walking down the street," she said.
According to Louisville Metro Police, the victims' injuries appear to be non-life-threatening but nevertheless a traumatic experience for their loved ones.
"They're both OK. That's all I know right now," the woman said. "It's scary. I don't want to live here anymore. I'm ready to leave."
Even before this shooting Monday, UofL Hospital Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jason Smith said the trauma unit had seen an increased number of patients lately.
"We set our record last year, over 4,000 trauma admissions," Smith said. "The first three months so far (this year) we are breaking the first three months of last year."
Of course, not all trauma patients are gunshot victims, and not all trauma patients come from Louisville. But Smith said the violence in the area is an issue.
"There has to be a bigger emphasis placed on community intervention," he said.
Many of the latest victims have been young.
"I used to say you get numb to it, but the answer is you never get numb to it, and that's the problem," Smith said.
LMPD has requested numerous interviews with Chief Erika Shields int he last few weeks with no success. The last time she spoke with WDRB News was in January.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has often said that the increase in violent crime is a nationwide problem, but few cities are seeing the spike that Louisville has.
Chicago has seen an increase in homicides in 2021 but only by about 22%.
And then there's Milwaukee, a city with almost the exact same population as Louisville. they've had just 22 homicides this year, a decrease from last year.
Game Changers, a local organization, is working to prevent violence in the future and educate people on the damage these acts have on the entire community.
Christie Welch, its deputy director, is creating a group called Voices of Survivors, filled with homicide victims' families. She said about a dozen people were in the first virtual meeting where they shared stories of grief and anger and talked about goals to create a brighter future. She said hopefully, the group will be able to create programs and get into schools to educate children at a young age.
"It's not just this one individual life that was taken. This ravages a whole entire family," said Welch, who has lost loved ones herself to gun violence.
"It gets me emotional, but I think if someone doesn't try to address it young and be able to speak to these young people like I feel like I can because of my age, nothing is ever going to get changed."
Welch said she worked with teenagers over the summer and learned many of them have doubts of living past their teens because of what they've experienced. She said that has to change.
"So many of them were like afraid to even dream because all their friends are getting shot and killed," she said.
LMPD said there have been more than 40 homicides in Louisville so far this year and more than 140 non-fatal shootings. A department spokesperson said 14 cases have been closed.
To reach out to Game Changers and learn more about the Voices of Survivors program, click here.
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