Community members meet to discuss gang violence

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - Lawton community members met on Monday night at Ice Tre's Barbershop to talk about the recent gang violence and what they can do to stop it.

D.J. Zackery decided to hold the meeting after being asked to hold the meeting following the shooting death of a teen over the weekend. More than 60 people attended the meeting.

"This is important to have because children are dying in Lawton Oklahoma and they're dying because of lack of leadership, lack of activities, lack of parental involvement, adult involvement, and community involvement in general," Zackery said.

He said they have held meetings like this before, but the meetings faded away when the shootings slowed down.

"The sense of urgency surely has returned due to the last couple of murders, and when people reach out I do my best to help," he said.

Zackery said he has a son of his own and he doesn't want to bury him.

Many people expressed feeling like they don't know where to start when it comes to helping their kids, but others offered advice including a principal, coaches, and former gang members. Melinda Kukuich admits to making some mistakes in her past but now wants to help save kids who are a part of a gang.

She said, as a parent, she sees things from a different perspective than when she was her children's age.

"I have children who are in high school that they know these people, they know these kids," she said. "It's just very scary as a parent to know that this stuff happens in our community."

Kukuich is happy to see that something is being done but is still concerned.

"I don't know if the problem will ever go away, but if we help and save one kid then I think that's good and hopefully we can save more," Kukuich said.

Zackery hopes people were able to get information on programs to help kids avoid gang violence and get them involved in things that are positive.

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