Community upset by 5-year-old shooting death, violence “has got to stop”

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The shock and sadness caused by the shooting death of a 5-year-old Milwaukee girl continues to ripple throughout southeastern Wisconsin.

Laylah Petersen's death has people coming to her neighborhood, from throughout the greater Milwaukee, to show support for the family she leaves behind. Among them, there is both reaction and response.

"We are all gathered here today for the young 5-year-old girl that was killed," said Khalil Coleman, with Changing Lives Through Literature program.

They are strong both in numbers and in message.

"The violence needs to stop. We gotta stop killing each other. We gotta stop hurting each other. We gotta stop robbing each other. But in order for us to do that, we gotta be one," said Coleman.

Friday, in front of the house where 5-year-old Laylah Petersen lost her life to a bullet, more than a few dozen people gather to call on the community to come together.

"White, black, brown, I don't care what color you are, this is our community and we are tired of the senseless killing that is going on in our streets. This is gonna end," said Elder Jacob Gatlin, with Redemption Fellowship Church.

Amidst significant sorrow, some call on those responsible for Laylah's death to surrender.

"This has got to stop. And to the person that committed this crime, it'd be best for you to turn yourself in. We not standin' for it no more -- it's over," said Shawn Moore, with Project Make a Change.

The focus remains on promoting peace, in the continuing search for justice.

"We want people to come together to start loving each other, and to bridge this gap so we can begin to heal," said Coleman.

Much of today's discourse involved the idea that the little girl's death should not be assessed as a Milwaukee problem. Several people also stressed the point that this kind of violence has repercussions which extend well-beyond the city.


  • Terry

    “We” need to stop killing each other? Let me be clear. I am not part of any group that kills or harms others. If someone does that, they are definitely not a part of my culture. They should be completely ostracized. We (as in the real community) need to stop acting like these killers and thugs are part of us. They do not define Black culture. Get out of our community. Get out of Milwaukee. Heck, get out of Wisconsin.

  • Terry

    And im tired of rallies and talking. Its time for action. Heres what we really need to do. Its so basic.Things we can actually do besides just talk: (1) If we know someone with a gun who shouldn’t have it, turn them in! (2) if we know someone is dealing, turn them in! (3) If we know something about a crime, use anonymous methods to report it! (4) If we see suspicious behaviors in our neighborhood, call the police! (5) Monitor our kids social media and enforce restrictions when negative influences are liked, friended, etc. (6) Monitor our kids interactions with other people. If we suspect a person may be a negative influence, prohibit that interaction. (7) Stop watching or listening to entertainment that promotes violent or criminal behavior. It just desensitizes our kids to the behavior and makes it seem ok.

    • dianne

      Terry you are so right..the community has to help itself , has to work with law enforcement Not against it.. people have to quit covering up for these criminals, people know who these people are that rob, bully, terrorize and murder… protest and march against that!!!

  • Dan B

    Maybe the Milwaukee judges should stop letting the DA do plea bargaining with these thugs and let them do the time. Maybe Ed Flynn should have a better then 22 minute response time for 911 calls.

  • G Man

    You got that right! I’ve been saying “like to shoot? Then congratulations, you’re enlisted in the military and you are off to fight the Taliban or ISIS or whatever”. Our judicial system is way too soft and I’m starting to believe the thugs are let loose because it’s just job security for the judges that are living like fat cats in the north shore

  • Semper Fidelis

    How will anything ever change if the criminal justice system thinks like liberals and give thugs 4/5/7/99 tries to be good, it’s a complete joke, we need judges that will really lock thugs of all colors away forever for such crimes, why not push to bring the death penalty back to Wisconsin, along with one year appeal only, after that, you are history,I don’t think it takes 18 years to put one to death, that will change Milwaukee street crime

  • Chris

    I left that festering ghetto cesspool ten years ago. It’s disgusting that nothing’s changed. Yeah, people of all races commit crimes but only one race is responsible for an appalling 80 per cent of them. Finding out why and finding a solution is the only way to address the insane amounts of violent crime that are affecting the citizens of Milwaukee.


    The entire community must come together. We must start turning these people in even if it is our own children. We need to stand together. Not just a group of people here and a group of people there. WE ALL NEED TO COME TOGETHER and put an end to these barbaric people who have no regard for life. God Bless You Chief Flynn and may He give you wisdom and guidance. The people who sit back and do nothing have no reason to criticize you.

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