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Saginaw anti-violence group hopes Whitmer’s call for gun reforms reduces violence

By Rayvin Bleu and Hannah Mose

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    SAGINAW, Michigan (WNEM) — A teenager was shot and killed in Saginaw just hours after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed gun violence during her second inaugural address.

“Let’s reduce gun violence, the number one killer of kids in this country, by pursuing common sense reforms here,” Whitmer said on New Year’s Day in Lansing.

Sunday’s shooting happened in the parking lot of the Marathon gas station on East Holland.

It claimed the life of 16-year-old Keshawn Banks and injured a 21-year-old woman.

Police have not announced any arrests.

The shooting hits close to home for Tamara Tucker and Stacy Washington, members of the organization Parents of Murdered Children.

“I don’t even have words to say just I’m sick of it. I’m tired of it,” said Tamara Tucker, a chapter leader. “I’m tired of families crying, I’m tired of the hurt.”

Keshawn Banks was the nephew of a group member.

“We went through 2022 with loss. Now we’re starting new year off with loss and it shouldn’t be,” said Stacy Washington, treasurer of the local chapter. “Family should be celebrating, you know, bringing in New Year’s and starting the new year with families and celebrating, but now we have family and loved ones have to wake up every day at the beginning of the year with their hopes and dreams gone.”

The members hope the governor’s commitment to address gun violence includes the opportunity to sit with her to discuss ways of reducing gun-related crimes in Saginaw.

“They need to hear firsthand and feel firsthand. The importance and the necessity of the money that is or whatever program they’re bringing into our community because we have to live with this so we should be a part of that,” Tucker said.

With the state House and Senate under Democratic control for the first time in decades, Whitmer hopes this will help push new priorities to her desk.

“Michigan is a special place, and we want to make it better for Michiganders today and for those who come in the decades ahead,” Whitmer said.

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