Editor’s note: A previous version of this story erroneously reported two people died over the weekend. The article has been updated to reflect three victims of the violent weekend.
SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – It was another violent weekend in the city of Savannah, with three people dead, including a teenager.
“No one should ever lose their lives in our city because of gun violence. Further, 15-year-olds should not die in our city or anywhere because of gun violence,” said Mayor Van Johnson in his weekly press conference Tuesday. “It’s absolutely horrible and absolutely unacceptable. Our children are supposed to bury us.”
The mayor said he’s disappointed and frustrated by the violence, but “not dismayed or deterred.”
Johnson explained that the city is taking a holistic approach to combat crime, from good policing to community relationships. Savannah is investing in summer activities and highlighting the young people who are doing the right thing, he said.
The mayor added that he’s pushing for speedy trials, asking local and state lawmakers to support common-sense gun laws, and calling on partners to take gun violence as a most serious public health hazard.
He described “a pre-post-pandemic syndrome” — or rise in tempers — taking place across the country.
“Crime is not raging in our community,” Johnson explained. “Tempers are raging in our community.”
“Consider where we were in the last two years. Lives changed,” the mayor continued. “I think that what we’re seeing now is the results of that. I think people are apprehensive. They are tense. They’re upset. Mental illness is real, and it’s been exacerbated by everything that’s going on.”
As the summer approaches, a time when crime typically rises, Johnson said he’s calling on Savannahians to be patient with others and themselves.
“Mental health is real and we must become each other’s violence interrupters by diffusing conflict with others and amongst one another,” he said, “and we must be willing to say what we see and proactively report the things that we know.”