Beloit community affected by gun violence gathers to demand change

BELOIT, Wisconsin (WMTV) – End of gun violence in Beloit. This is one woman’s mission after losing her cousin in 2020 and why she brought the community together to discuss what can be done to prevent something like this from happening again.

Alexcia Payton lost her cousin Chelsey Payton to a senseless act of gun violence in October 2020. She says shots were fired at a party and believes Chelsey was caught in the crossfire. But more than a year later, no arrests have been made in her cousin’s case, leaving the family with many unanswered questions.

“Your immediate family wants those answers,” Alexcia said. “They want that help, want that person to reach out.”

Chelsey’s death is one of dozens of gun-related incidents over the years that have rocked the Beloit community.

Alexcia’s mother, Carrie Harrell-Payton, says the town is unrecognizable.

“This isn’t the community I grew up in,” Harrell-Payton said. “It’s just so different from Beloit.”

That’s why Alexcia organized We Hear You, Now Hear Us – an event held at a local Beloit church for families, clergy and the community to gather to share their experiences of gun violence and call for change.

“We have a serious gun violence problem in this city, it’s beyond control,” Alexcia said. “We want to open the lines of communication between the Beloit community and between the police department.”

Beloit Police, including Chief Adre Sayles, were invited to the event but were unable to attend. Alexcia says sharing stories about how gun violence affects people personally can make a difference even without the presence of law enforcement.

“That’s the concern of the community,” she said. “How can we work together to open the lines of communication to reclaim our community and convince them to lay down their arms?”

In a statement to NBC15, Chief Sayles said: “The City of Beloit Police Department values ​​the voices of those affected by violence. We understand that many in our community are grieving as a result of gun violence and we will continue to actively investigate these cases. We intend to host professionally moderated community forums in several locations this spring.”

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