INDIANAPOLIS — What was supposed to be a discussion Wednesday night with community leaders about gun violence in Indianapolis found a new meaning in response to the horrific mass shooting on Tuesday in Uvalde, Texas.
"It's sucking you into a rabbit hole of dark topics. They only get worse. You can't find any good out of it," said Zion Robinson, a 15-year-old attending forum.
Robinson explains how some of his peers are dealing with violence, in their community and across the country.
"I feel fine, but the problem is my friends. A lot of my friends are slowly becoming suicidal, or they were, and they're like slowly going back into it," Robinson said. "The more you see things like shootings that keep happening."
"What would cause somebody to go into a school and shoot 18 defenseless children, that's not mental that's demonic," Pastor Kenneth Sullivan Jr. of New Direction Church said.
Sullivan is an avid leader in the community, looking for ways to bring change and stop the violence.
"There's a silver lining behind the dark cloud that we've seen with gun violence nationally and even here locally. So, we're doing things to push back the darkness just really giving the people perspective and hope," Sullivan said.
On Wednesday, Sullivan held a Violence Prevention and Intervention Forum. It was initially in response to gun violence here in the Circle City.
After the tragedy in Texas, Sullivan said this forum is more pressing than ever.
"If we could just stop and say, where could we find common ground? And where could we come together to make a difference?" Sullivan said.
Indianapolis City-County Councillor La Keisha Jackson joined the conversation to see ways the council can be present and bring more resources to help change the narrative of gun violence.
"I think sometimes we like to point fingers. What we have going on now, it's not isolated," Sullivan said. "It used to be, it's not on my doorstep. It's not happening over here; we can look the other way. It's Carmel. It's Speedway. It's Southport. So now we must see how we can come together, what strategies to use long-term and short-term, and we must be intentional about it."
"We want those who are here locally to understand that we're working to train young men and young women in de-escalation tactics as well as looking at how we can step back and resolve conflict in a better and more calm way," said Sullivan.