FORT PIERCE, Fla. — The mayor of Fort Pierce is speaking for the first time since Monday's shooting at a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day event.
Mayor Linda Hudson spoke exclusively with WPTV Friday morning to discuss what the the city is doing now to reduce and prevent gun violence in her community.
The mayor told WPTV that Monday’s shooting has not sparked any real action as far as how the city might tackle gun violence in the future, but said they are having a meeting Tuesday, where the shooting will likely be a topic of discussion.
However, in the meantime she told WPTV she refuses to let the shooting define the city.
“When I heard about what happened, I was stunned and sad and grieving for the families that were hurt," Hudson said, "the families that witnessed it, and especially the woman who died and her family.”
The mass shooting killed a mom, and injured seven others with gun shot wounds.
The incident happened under Hudson’s watch. She’s been leading the city for a decade now, and in those years, gun and gang violence in Fort Pierce has been an issue she and other cities leaders have worked to combat.
“We were the first agency on the Treasure Coast to have body cams for every sworn officer,” Hudson said. “We’ve put money into police training, and police technology and police compensation.”
She also said the city has supported programs that help people own homes, or grow businesses in the city, in an effort to thwart violence.
The city is working to try to reverse a violent reputation that has followed the city in some circles and spotlight the ongoing good work.
“I think we’re making progress and I think this one incident is maybe going to be a blip in our progress. But this wasn’t Fort Pierce who shot this person. This was a person," Hudson said. "This was somebody that I don’t know, but it wasn’t the whole city. Our city is so safe and people don’t know it. But they have to come here to find it out.”
However, there’s no doubt, a shooting like this one, makes a community want to see even more action, and ideas on how to keep chipping away at gun violence.
“Tuesday we’re going to be doing strategic planning all day long and I’m sure we will be discussing this,” Hudson said.
Some have called for shot spotters, but the mayor told WPTV that’s something she feels doesn’t live up to the hype.
She also said she is confident someone will be arrested and prosecuted to give people who live in and visit Fort Pierce, peace of mind.
Until then, here's her message to people who live in and visit Fort Pierce.
“I say we’re one city and they can come with me and go any place in this city and see it’s a safe city,” Hudson said.
The mayor told WPTV she’s counting on the county, which owns the park where the shooting happened, to make its own safety plan in light of this.