Killeen: Police, activists work to curb teen violence

KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) Police and activists are working to curb teen violence in Killeen where 45 shootings involving victims 17 or younger have occurred since 2014.

Police and activists are working to curb teen violence in Killeen where 45 shootings involving victims 17 or younger have occurred since 2014. (Photo by Elliot Wilson/file)

During the same period, 22 of the suspects in shooting have been 17 or younger.

Five of the shootings were deadly.

“One death is too many, especially when that loss of life (involves) an individual who is 17 years old. That 17-year-old hasn’t even experienced life yet," said Tavares Bethel, of The Village United, a collaboration among community leaders with the goal of effecting positive change in the lives of younger residents and raising the awareness of adults.

On Aug. 11, 17-year-old Jacques Jackson was killed in the 5300 block of Fiesta Oak Drive.

No one has been arrested in Jackson's death.

In April, Seth Cross, 16, was shot in the head while he was at a friend's home on Longview Drive.

He is still fighting for life.

Four arrests have been made.

In February, Obadiah Bush, also 17, was shot to death during a disturbance in the 1300 block of Covey Lane.

Killeen police are hoping to cut the numbers through a new program they’re rolling out that will help at-risk teens make good, rather than bad, choices.

The program, which is still in the planning stages, would take place at schools in Killeen Independent School District.

“A primary concern to the police department would be that kids don’t engage in at-risk behaviors, whether that be participating in violent altercations, peers, gangs, drugs,

“We just implore everyone to work on outreach activities, work on different type of awareness, being aware of where your children are, what they’re doing; who they are associating with, the type of activities they're participating in," Plowick said.

Part of the work that The Village United does is to help teenagers understand their own triggers and how to avoid conflict.

“When you can identify your internal triggers and you can resolve your internal conflict, it gives you the ability to be more resolve when you a dealing with individuals who may be conflicted," Bethel said.

On Thursdays, a free seminar is held at The Village United at 324 East Ave. D in Killeen, covering a wide range of topics and avoiding conflict.

“We have to work with educators and our faith-based community in order to cultivate a greater degree of respect for humanity," Bethel added.

State Rep. Brad Buckley, R-Killeen, recently dropped by to discuss this year’s legislative session.