“Give them options:” 64 murders so far in 2016; coach using sports to connect with city’s young people

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MILWAUKEE -- In a violent span of less than 48 hours, four people were murdered in Milwaukee -- three on Sunday, July 17th and one on Monday, July 18th. This, after Milwaukee's Homicide Review Commission released its mid-year report.

In the report, city officials say violence must be viewed as a public health problem. One of the suggestions for reducing violence is positive intervention with those at risk.

Markell Thompson's sports camp in Moody Park

Markell Thompson's sports camp in Moody Park

Markell Thompson

Markell Thompson

If Milwaukee is to make strides toward reducing violence, Markell Thompson believes there's one thing young people need.

"Give them options, you know? With more knowledge, with more choices throughout their life, they can feel there isn`t a bad choice automatically," Thompson said.

The choice Thompson officers is a summer sports camp at Moody Park -- less than a mile from the scene of a shooting Sunday that claimed the lives of two men.

Medical examiner: Two deaths near 26th and Hopkins

Medical examiner: Two deaths near 26th and Hopkins

Mallory O'Brien with the Homicide Review Commission

Mallory O'Brien with the Homicide Review Commission

"We`re going in the right direction. Given the comparison to 2014, we are still up -- but we are certainly moving in the direction we want to go," Mallory O'Brien with the Homicide Review Commission said.

O'Brien chairs the commission.

According to the commission, as of June 30th, there had been about 20 fewer murders in Milwaukee compared to the same time in 2015. However, if you take away 2015, the first half of 2016 has been the most violent going back at least 10 years.

Homicide Review Commission Mid-Year Report

Homicide Review Commission Mid-Year Report

On top of that, the commission found a sharp increase in intimate partner homicides and non-fatal shootings.

Speaking outside the Sojourner Family Peace Center, O'Brien noted the most common factor in 2016 homicides is a previous argument or fight.

"We have consistently seen, year to year to year, that 'argument/fight' is usually our number one primary factor," O'Brien said.

Homicide Review Commission Mid-Year Report

Homicide Review Commission Mid-Year Report

Thompson said his message is that if someone is angry, they should choose basketball over bullets.

"Come on and join us. We`d rather take you in than have you walking the street. See somebody you don`t like, I`d rather have you playing basketball so it`s like 'ight, forget that, I`m playing basketball right now. I`m doing something for myself,'" Thompson said.

Markell Thompson's sports camp in Moody Park

Markell Thompson's sports camp in Moody Park

As of Tuesday, July 19th Milwaukee police confirmed to FOX6 News there have been 65 murders in Milwaukee. That compares to 84 at this time in 2015 -- a decrease city officials say is somewhat encouraging, but also a reminder of how far we have to go.

Markell Thompson's sports camp in Moody Park

Markell Thompson's sports camp in Moody Park

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