Burke County community comes together to prevent gun violence


“We had two shootings in the last two weeks. Young people under 20, and there’s no way that we can just dismiss that,” says Tony Wesby, Minister and Community Youth Advocate.

A 19-year-old from Waynesboro is in critical condition after being shot a few hours after the Fourth of July.

The week before that 17-year-old Tybrelyn Kelly was allegedly murdered by 19-year-old Malik Harris, who is now in jail.

Waynesboro Mayor Greg Carswell held a press conference Friday and added a curfew law people 18 and younger.

Pastor Tony Wesby believes extra precautions from the community need to follow.

“It was good that our police and mayor and politicians did their part, but as a community we have to care,” says Tony Wesby.

So he held a meeting in Waynesboro City Park to discuss how to stop the gun violence that the community believes is gang-related.

“I want the community to know we must get in front of this, because if one kill…and from my understanding it’s a problem between two cities- Sardis and Waynesboro. We want to bring some love and unity in there..because we’re all Burke County,” says Tony Wesby.

Burke County officials believe that having conversations and the community being fully involved in a child’s life is where it starts.

“If it gets to a point that you believe there’s going to be violence occuring you have to speak up. And what I try to remind people is, if you fail to speak up and that stray bullet kills one of your loved ones..you’re going to wish you did,” says Lewis Blanchard, Burke County Chief Deputy.

Organizers believe that after the meeting ends the message should continue.

“I just want this to be a consistency of people going back into their community, going back to their homes and churches and their organizations, and making this a relevant issue. Our youth- we must stop the violence. Put the guns down,” says Tony Wesby.

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