LEBANON, Pa. (WHTM) — Lebanon City Police are continuing their investigation into the homicide of a 16-year-old earlier this week.
Violence, specifically gun violence, isn’t as prevalent in Lebanon as it is in Harrisburg or Lancaster, but community leaders are actively working to find solutions to prevent it.
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On Wednesday, Oct. 27, police say a 16-year-old boy was killed when he was shot by a single bullet and his car rolled over and crashed.
In an update released Monday, Nov. 1, police have arrested 16-year-old Jaedyn Gaines, of Lebanon, with Homicide and Conspiracy to Commit Homicide. According to the release, additional charges are pending.
The police continue to investigate and search for the second suspect.
According to the report, Gaines and the second offender allegedly intended to commit a robbery against the two victims after meeting them to purchase marijuana. A struggle between the 16-year-old victim and the second offender began when Gaines allegedly shot the victim.
Gaines and the second offender fled the scene and the 16-year-old drove south on 6th Street but succumbed to the gun-shot wound, which led to the vehicle accident.
“It is just extremely sad that another human being’s life can be eradicated so easily,” Fitzroy Lewis said.
The community was saddened by the news and some are worried about a pattern of guns being in the wrong hands.
“Sometimes there’s people shooting and we could hear it and I say what the heck, what the heck is going on here now?” Marybeth Perez said.
There is work being done under the umbrella of the Community Health Council of Lebanon County.
“The root of many different forms of violence rests in trauma and the impact of trauma on community members,” Lewis said.
Lewis is the coordinator of the Connected Together subcommittee, which initiated a community violence prevention program using state funding.
“We want to know, are the resources that we have, are they actually addressing the priorities that we see in the risk or protective factors? And if so, how effective are they?” Lewis said.
Lewis says they’re a year into the two-year grant, using data to inform decisions and program needs. At the heart of the process are young people.
“Giving youth the opportunity to develop skills, to be recognized for their effort and then to create a bond within the community,” Lewis said. “This is systematic. It’s a process.”
Lewis encourages others to get involved too. Instead of just talking about the problems, helping to find solutions.
“This is a very profound effort but it is not a quick fix,” Lewis said.
To learn more about the Community Violence Prevention program click here.