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Gun violence impacts Marion County, Health department dedicating $2 million to prevention

Posted at 7:20 PM, Jun 28, 2024

INDIANAPOLIS — Marion County's top health official has a message for parents about gun violence now being a public health crisis.

WRTV's Rachael Wilkerson spoke to a mother who knows the pain of losing a child to gun violence and hopes these messages resonate.

"Since April 12, it's like I've walked in a cloud everyday. I miss my son every minute of the day and he should still be here with me but all the gun violence," Rebecca Lawson said.


Pictures can't replace the hole Lawson now has in her heart after her son, Spencer, was shot and killed in April.

He's one of three people that died from gunfire at an apartment complex near East 46th Street and North Post Road in Lawrence.

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"Those two young ladies died with my son, they didn't get to begin life, they were 19," Lawson said. "I'm sorry that happened to them. He would've never put them in harms way but you have kids carrying magazines, holding 50 rounds. It needs to stop."

A 24-year-old was arrested and the investigation is ongoing but IMPD reports at least 80 people have been killed this year from guns.


"They don't know what they took from me and it's not fair. Who are they to take anybody's child? So many moms are in the situation I am in, and I used to watch the news before my son was killed and would cry for other mothers because it's sad that sometimes people never get caught," Lawson said. "I promised my son everyone involved will be caught and he will get his justice."

The U.S. Surgeon General has also declared gun violence is as a public health crisis.

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Director & Chief Medical Officer of the Marion County Public Health department, Dr. Virgina Caine, said the crisis is significantly impacting youth.

"Right now, the number one killer of children ages up to 17 is gun injuries — firearm injuries — and what does that mean? It means as parents we underestimate the brilliance and smartness of children in terms of finding a gun," Dr. Caine said.

MCPHD is dedicating $2 million towards gun violence and prevention in 2025.

WATCH PREVIOUS COVERAGE | Gun violence declared a health crisis

Gun violence declared a health crisis

In the meantime, Dr. Caine said they're working on a better way to provide resources to families.

"We are trying to build a website so parents can identify any provider out there that has programs related to violence prevention and providing that support," she said.


Dr. Caine stresses the importance of gun locks. Agencies like metro police do provide those to the public for free.