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'It's heartbreaking': Faith, community leaders discuss ways to curb increasing homicide rate in Bibb County

Both leaders are calling on the community to come together and to settle conflicts through communications

MACON, Ga. — So far this week, there have been two homicides in Bibb County with both people dying from gunshot wounds. As the year continues, faith and community leaders are urging everyone to put the guns down while offering up solutions. 

48-year-old Parrish Forster was found shot to death in west Macon early Monday. Three days later, 21-year-old Cameron Ashley was shot and killed in north Macon.

"It's heartbreaking to continue hearing about the violence, especially the gun violence," Pastor Carlos Kelly of Beulahland Bible Church said. 

Kelly says gun violence in the community is an epidemic, and he believes one solution could be gun control.

"I'm not saying take guns away, but I'm saying we have to do our due diligence to make sure that not just anyone can access guns. There has to be some kind of way we can weed out the bad ones," Kelly said. 

In 2021, the Bibb County Coroner's Office says 16 deaths have been classified as a homicide.

"It's like déjà vu, you know -- it's like seeing last year all over again," Carl Myers with Fathers Among Men said. 

Compared to a record-breaking year in 2020, we are already on pace to keep that record or break it. That's why Myers is mentoring the youth with Father Among Men while finding solutions to gun violence. 

"I also feel the community needs to step up itself, we need to police our own communities, especially the males," Myers said.

Myers is also calling for law enforcement to be involved in community events and wants to see more resource centers for adults.

"To clear their minds, to come pick up resources, whether it is just the wi-fi, or coming to pick up some food, whatever the case may be," Myers said. 

Both men agree it's time for people to come together to resolve conflict rather than solving it with guns. 

"These are uncertain times, people are struggling real bad, and I believe that we have to make sure that we try and reach out to those who are hurting and let them know God loves them," Kelly said. 

Myers says that is working to make sure kids stay out of trouble by holding a summer camp this summer. You can find more information about it by following this link or Fathers Among Men on Facebook.