Congresswoman Summer Lee shares problems she believes are causing teenage gun violence in the area

PITTSBURGH — In the past two months, there have been four teens murdered in Allegheny County. In two of those incidents, police said another teen was the one who pulled the trigger. Just last week four students were shot in front of Westinghouse Academy as the school day ended.

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With local and school leaders pushing for common sense gun laws, Channel 11 News sat down with Congresswoman Summer Lee to get her to take on this issue and what can be done at a federal level.

“It is not a new issue,” said Lee.

When asked if we have a teen gun violence issue, Lee said yes.

“We have more guns than kids I believe,” she said.

Pittsburgh police said just this year, there have been 12 teenage victims of shootings, some of them were killed. Countywide, four teens have been murdered.

Last month 19-year-old Aceyn Ausbrook was shot and killed leaving a house party in Monroeville. The next day police say 13-year-old Chase Jones was killed by a fellow 13-year-old in Clairton.

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And in February two teens, 15-year-old Tre’Sean Jackson and 17-year-old Damonte Hardrick, were both killed in the Allentown area on separate occasions. Investigators said Hardrick was also killed by yet another teen.

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“We know that gun violence is directly correlated with poverty, so where we see those concentrations of blight, school, income, and educational inequality that’s where we are going to see gun violence,” Lee said.

Lee said that to fix the issue of teen gun violence government will need to address the root causes.

“[Families need to] have access to afterschool care, programs where their kids can be enriched, where their kids can go and be safe making sure that their schools are equitable; and then making sure on the backend that they have job opportunities,” she said.

Lee said investing in wrap-around services for students, ensuring affordable housing for families, and providing young people with livable wages is a start, but said it will take a collective effort.

“But that means at every level of government we have to be willing to invest in that, we have to make sure that we are all directing those resources at the same time; otherwise, we are not being honest about it,” Lee said.

On Sunday, Feb. 23 Channel 11 News will have more with Congresswoman Lee addressing other hot topics and her historic new role during the station’s Black History Month special airing at 8:30 a.m.

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