Gino Stewart said the fear of being shot and killed on the Flint streets is real.
"I'll be afraid of even going out to the store, going out to play basketball in their front yard, you know, it's just senseless," Stewart said.
He brought three of his kids to the Kennedy Activity Center Tuesday night for the Flint Lifelines community forum set up to help stop violence. Stewart said he knows the repercussions of crime are real. His dad was locked up while he was a child.
"It hurt me the most because he wasn't there when I needed him and then when he got out of prison, he did five years and then he got out, he died like a week and a half later, that really hurt," Stewart said.
Stewart and others like him shared their personal stories at the forum and some even talked about losing loved ones to gun violence.
But cameras weren't allowed inside. That decision was made because the Lifelines also invited some suspected non-violent offenders from the community to the meeting to offer them an opportunity to choose a different path in life.
"They can turn their life around and walk away from a life of crime, and if they do that, we will be offering them a reprieve from prosecution, and if they do not succeed, they will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," said Genesee County Special Assistant Prosecuting Attorney John Potbury.
Prosecutors and law enforcement are trying to nip the problem where it starts. They said many times, people doing crimes, like dealing drugs, turns into a much worse crime.
Franklin Richmond was at Tuesday's meeting. He's a former gang leader from Chicago who spent 12 years in prison and is now a deacon. He said Flint leaders are making the right moves.
"Get with the guys, talk to them, win them over. It's not hard, win them over. You work with me, I'll work with you. But if you don't work with me, you're against me, and that's how it is, that's how there's an organization, anytime you organize, you know what to do," Richmond said.
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