• Generation lost: Gun violence involving youth on the rise across Central Florida

    By: Daralene Jones

    Updated:

    Gun violence gets a lot of attention whenever a mass shooting occurs, but what about the shootings happening every day across Central Florida?

    9 Investigates took an in-depth look at gun violence across the state and found thousands of young people are being injured or killed by guns every year.

    Investigative Reporter Daralene Jones found the numbers are only growing and some are calling this an epidemic that's being ignored.

    "I'm not me anymore," said Kim Crow, who lost her 17-year-old grandson to an execution-style killing in a Casselberry park. "You can't believe that someone is taken away from you so violently and to realize they were only 17, it's heartbreaking."

    There has not yet been an arrest in the teenager's death, despite an eyewtiness being close to the scene.

    Jeanina Washington is still seeking answers on what happened to her son, Tamar Harris, who was killed in Sanford in 2016.

    "What could he have done so bad for someone to shoot at him," said Washington. "It hurts to know he was out there asking for help and no one would help him. He's out in the middle of the street like a dog."

    9 Investigates analyzed hospital discharge data, which shows shooting victims' ages, races, genders and even the zip code where they were shot. In five years, 30,453 of those victims were either injured or killed in the state of Florida. The numbers showed that 8,612 of those victims were 21 or younger. Nearly 7 of 10 of the victims were black.

    Doctor Tom Lacy, a pediatric trauma specialist at Nemours Children's Health System, calls the gun violence an epidemic.

    "If 1,000 kids died from something else, it would be on the news everyday."

    The numbers reported do not include victims who went directly to the medical examiner's office, who are typically those who died on the scene of a crime. 

    Officials told Channel 9 it's difficult to correlate how many of the gun injuries and deaths are linked to illegal or stolen guns.

    "I always think to myself, this is a club that I wouldn't want any mother, brother, sister, cousin or uncle to be a part of," said Washington. 

    Watch this story Thursday on Channel 9 Eyewitness News starting at 5 p.m.

    DOWNLOAD: Free WFTV News & Weather Apps

    Not near a TV? Click here to watch WFTV newscasts live

    Watch Live: Doppler 9 HD 

    Next Up: