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Waco police call on citizens to help stop 'immeasurable toll' of gun violence

Waco police said 12 of the 17 homicides in 2021 in the city involved a gun.

WACO, Texas — The Waco Police Department and McLennan County District Attorney's Office put out a call Thursday to citizens to help bring an end to gun violence.

"Words cannot adequately describe the immeasurable toll and trauma gun violence exacts on everyone," police wrote in a news release.

Police said in 2021 there were 1,894 discharges of firearms or gun related crimes in Waco. 12 of the 17 homicides involved a gun.

Police called on citizens to help gather as much information as possible to identify shooters including video from ring cameras and any other video that may have captured the incident.

"We need victims and witnesses to be forth coming with information as to suspect’s motives as to why the shooting occurred and we need victims not to retaliate against those they believe are responsible for the violence directed at them," the news release said.

Police said the department takes a proactive approach to prevent and investigate gun violence. Each case is investigated by the department and the district attorney's office.

"As public officials, it is our responsibility to work in partnership with the community to galvanize every possible resource to prevent, intervene, investigate, and suppress gun violence," the release said.

Assistant Police Chief Frank Gentsch spoke about the department's efforts to curb gun violence in the department's podcast.

The Waco Anti-Gang Center helps to identify gang members and drug dealers, according to the department.

"We are united in our commitment to reducing gun violence, acknowledging the harm being done to people and families, and ensuring an ongoing focus on action and constant improvement in how we implement our strategies," the release said.

Waco resident Flecha Smyre said she understands the pain of losing a loved one to gun violence.

"I'm just missing him on a daily. There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about him."

In 2010, her son Montrell Phenix was shot and killed in Waco. She is pleading to the community to stop the violence.

"It has to start at home," said Smyre. "We have to talk with our children as they go out into the communities or where ever they go."

Smyre is healing her pain through the foundation she created called Montrell Phenix Sr Cease The Violence Foundation.

"I felt like he gave me that vision to reach out to our young adults in a manner such as this, and to be able to try to bring some kind of awareness to our city and our community," said Smyre.

Police said they would post about the problem of gun violence on their social media page through the end of the week.