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New Haven community leader calls for change after three people shot Friday

Police responded to three separate incidents within a four-hour span Friday night. Pastor John Lewis says there are ways that can help deter gun crime.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — New Haven Police responded to three shootings Friday evening with a man injured and taken to the hospital in each shooting.

MORE: Multiple shootings just hours apart in New Haven on Friday: Police

A 21-year-old New Haven man, a 35-year-old West Haven man, and a 46-year-old Seymour man were all injured. Police don’t believe the incidents were connected. Police Chief Karl Jacobson said a majority of officers were working the New Haven Grand Prix when the shootings happened.

Pastor John Lewis with the Christ New Testament Church says the gun remains the common enemy in these incidents. He says they are too available but resources to keep people away from them are not.

“You cannot have one program to try to curve the violence. They can’t do it by themselves. You have many different organizations and programs and people,” the outreach chair of the New Haven Clergy Association said. “Everyone has to get their hands dirty and we got to work together. We cannot do it separate. There’s too many gaps.”

The pastor says leaders need to be more serious about getting weapons off the streets. In June, the city bought back weapons and paid anywhere from $10 for B.B. guns to $250 for assault rifles.

“Raise the bar. Get $1,500, give $2,000,” he said. “If the mayor, the governor, and all of these officials are sincerely concerned about this gun violence in our community, they will give more money to get rid of those guns.”

RELATED: New Haven Grand Prix returns to Downtown

Neighbors, where the shootings happened Friday, say they have seen crime increasing over the last couple of years. Many say it’s starting to emerge in their part of the city.

Pastor Lewis says calls to address guns on the street are things he hears from people across the state. While the state already has some of the toughest gun laws in the country, he says clearly it’s not doing enough. He said the state needs to rally together to make change just like they did after the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012.

He said there needs to be more done to enhance the quality of life for those who resort to gun violence. He believes it often has to do with self-struggle.

RELATED: Waterbury man killed in East Hartford shooting

“I only kill people, or shoot at people that look like me because I have a distaste about myself,” he said.

Anyone with information on the three shootings is asked to reach out to New Haven Police at 203-946-6304. Information can be left anonymously by calling 1-866-888-TIPS(8477), or text “NHPD plus your message” to 274637 (CRIMES).

Tony Black is a multi-media journalist at FOX61 News. He can be reached at ablack@fox61.com. Follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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