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'How many more lives have to die?': Fort Pierce residents not satisfied with police response to shootings

Police officials are urging the community's help to combat gun violence
Posted at 11:42 PM, Jun 13, 2024

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — Some residents in Fort Pierce expressed their dissatisfaction as police officials urge the community to help end gun violence in the city.

“Funerals are becoming the social event in the community," stated resident Lisa Faye Prince-Mobley. "Something really has to be done."

Fort Pierce police officials held a news conference Thursday morning on safety, asking members of the community to come together collectively. Officials made clear they want residents to speak up when it comes to solving crimes.

“I can tell you that the success rate on our cases are higher, significantly higher, when the community’s involved," said Major Mike Santiago of the Fort Pierce Police Department. "When the community talks to us, when the community calls 911.”

Chief Diane Hobley-Burney reported that 11 shootings occurred in Fort Pierce in May and one in June.

Fort Pierce Police Chief Diane Hobley-Burney speaks at a news conference on June 13, 2024, about gun violence.

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Prince-Mobley, founder of a gun violence prevention program, said she reached out to the chief wanting to get involved, but her efforts went nowhere.

“You can’t say that we want the community’s help but when the community reaches out, then you tell us that we’re not gonna raise our children for you,” she shared.

Prince-Mobley grew up in Fort Pierce and said as a young person, she was part of the problem. However, after a shooting last year, she founded the Block Builders Community Action Group, along with the mother of a gun violence victim.

“The people have been crying out for a very long time," stated Prince-Mobley. "How many more lives have to die? How much more blood has to be shed before you act on the things that you keep saying?”

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Fort Pierce police officials said they’ve been enhancing patrols, but members of the community believe otherwise.

“Go where the murders are happening," shared Pastor Elder Lovell Lee. "Go where the areas are the hottest.”

Gun violence continues to be a topic of discussion, as it was brought up during last week's city commission meeting even though it wasn't on the agenda.

“I’m tired of getting up all times of the night, 12, 1 o’clock in the morning, gunshots going off," said one resident.

Santiago said they’ve been in touch with city officials hoping to add more surveillance cameras.