Lexington Mayor Jim Gray called for a review Tuesday of the city’s and community’s response to gun violence and asked for areas where it can improve in the wake of the weekend shooting death of the daughter of Olympic sprinter Tyson Gay.
During the Urban County Council’s work session on Tuesday, Gray said he has asked his administration to review all of its current procedures to determine where the city and community can improve. Gray said he expects that review to take time but hopes to have results to present to the Urban County Council in coming weeks.
Gray said after the meeting the review will include more than just police policies. It will take a holistic look at all community services.
“It takes a tragedy and broken hearts for us to examine fully where we are and where we want to be,” Gray said. “We have always worked together as a caring community and that’s what we need to do here.”
Gray said they will be reaching out to the faith community and others to try to determine what Lexington can do to make improvements.
“We need to look at these issues at the root, systematically,” Gray said. “What can we do to make improvements?”
Gray’s comments came less than two days after the shooting death of Trinity Gay, a Lafayette High School student who was shot outside Cook Out fast-food restaurant on South Broadway early Sunday. Three men have been arrested in the aftermath of Gay’s death.
Lexington Police Chief Mark Barnard told the council during Tuesday’s meeting that Lexington police were able to make those arrests because people who saw the shooting came forward. In other recent shooting deaths, people with information have not stepped forward, which is frustrating for the police and the families of those victims, he said.
One such shooting death was Maryiah Coleman, a 22-year-old Lexington woman who was shot while walking her dog off of Winburn Drive in early September. Coleman’s family has held rallies to try to encourage more people to step forward. Coleman was eight months pregnant at the time of her death.
“I know in my heart that someone knows what happened,” Barnard said.
Councilwoman Jennifer Scutchfield said she knows the Gay family well. Her son ran track with Trinity Gay.
“This has to stop,” Scutchfield said. “It’s a 15-year-old girl. It can’t happen again.”
Barnard said in addition to 15-year-olds being shot, they have also had 15-year-olds who have obtained guns and shot themselves or friends.
Barnard told the council of another 15-year-old who they believe was responsible for stealing more than 50 cars. The teen died in a car accident in Cincinnati. He was driving a stolen car, Barnard said.
“The entire system failed that kid,” Barnard said.
One issue the city may need to look at — its curfew ordinance.
For teens under 18, curfew is 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday. But the ordinance said if the parents or guardians say they were not aware that the child was out past curfew, the teen can not be charged.
“All the parents have to say is that they don’t know the kid was out and it’s a defense of a curfew violation,” Barnard said.
The funeral for Trinity Gay has been set for Saturday.
Services will be at Southland Christian Church on Harrodsburg Road in Jessamine County in building B. Visitation is from 9 a.m. to noon with the funeral to follow.
The exact start and end time of the services may change depending on the needs of the family, a spokesman for Southland Christian Church said.
Gay was shot and killed early Sunday morning outside of Cook Out on South Broadway in Lexington.