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DC leaders call for solutions as number of juvenile homicides nearly doubles

ABC7

In 2016 and 2017, there were seven juvenile homicides in the District.

So far this year, that number has nearly doubled.

The latest victim is 15-year-old Gerald Watson.

“Gerald was an amazing kind-hearted individual, who liked to laugh, liked to joke, liked do everything a 15-year would,” Watson’s godfather Darrell Gatson said.

State Board of Education Ward 8 Representative Markus Batchelor says enough is enough.

“While we’re seeing an uptick in homicides, it should be particularly hurtful that we’re seeing so many young people being killed,” Batchelor said.

Overall, homicides are up 43 percent in the District.

“When is it going to be enough, will it take another 14-year-old, another 16-year-old?” Batchelor said.

Batchelor says he is especially concerned about children traveling back and forth to school in his ward, where there have been many shootings.

“We’ve got to prioritize safe passage to make sure that our young people can go back and forth to school safely," Batchelor said. "We’re here, where just a few months ago a young man was killed three blocks from his school and within a stone’s throw of two elementary schools."

On Monday, there will be a vigil for Watson on Knox Place, SE at 6 p.m.

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