Updated: September 26, 2019 05:35 AM
Created: September 25, 2019 11:23 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Twenty-seven people have been killed in Rochester this year. Eighteen of those cases involved firearms. On May 4, 2019, Leslie Ogden's son Jalen Everett was shot and killed on Dewey Avenue.
"Jalen was an artist, Jalen was a father, Jalen was a brother, Jalen was my son," Ogden said.
Ogden spoke about Everett at the National Day of Remembrance for Murder victims at First Genesis Baptist Church on Hudson Avenue. Everett was charged and acquitted of murder after three people were killed at the Boys and Girls Club on Genesee Street in 2015.
"Jalen was acquitted, Jalen was not a felon, Jalen was not a savage," Ogden said.
Thousands of people across the country lose loved ones to gun violence each year. Roc the Peace founder Sirena Cotton's teenage son Christopher Jones was shot and killed in 2003.
"My son's killer got his gun because his grandmother thought it was broken, and with that my son is dead," Cotton said. "There are a lot of folks that just have guns lying around."
Cotton connected with the Attorney General's office to host a gun buyback, while the ceremony was happening inside of the church's ceremony. Assistant NY Attorney General Ted O'Brien says more than 130 guns were exchanged for $7,000 in gift cards.
"We don't believe this necessarily in and of itself is the answer to gun violence, but we do believe this is a piece of the puzzle," O'Brien said. "By giving people the opportunity to get rid of unwanted guns that are then destroyed so they don't end up in the wrong hands and we believe that in itself enhances public safety."
Rochester Police Chief La'Ron Singletary says there is an ongoing effort to get illegal guns off the streets.
"In the last two or three months we have made a lot of gun arrests we've taken firearms off the street," Chief Singletary said. "The number one question is where are these guns coming from and that's what we're working on."
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