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'Corona-violence': Doctors see uptick in gunshot victims, community resources fight to keep doors open amid pandemic

Families and officials fear that 2020 is on pace for a record-breaking number of shootings.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — 'Corona-violence' is how UofL Hospital is describing Louisville as trauma nurses fight a spike of cases in two pandemics.

With 17 shootings since Friday and four more of them early Tuesday morning the staff at UofL Health are treating more gunshot victims while also treating COVID-19 patients.

"Chris is never coming home and the only thing that the system can say to us is 'I'm sorry,'" Keya Barnes said whose son 17-year-old Christopher Ward died in a shooting in April. "As parents we're faced with challenges daily, but this is by far the biggest challenge I've ever had to experience."

16-year-old Mykhi Brown; 18-year-old Donovan Simpson; 15-year-old Ali Aden are the few names of 13 teenagers killed by gunfire between March and July, according to Louisville Metro Police Department. 

Trauma surgeon at UofL Hospital, Dr. Keith Miller said they're seeing younger shooting patients.

"This has just been such a staggering increase that I think it's on everyone's radar throughout the community particularly here in the hospital," he said. "We're going from one to two injuries over a 24-hour period to three and four injuries over a 24-hour period of time."

According to LMPD, there have been 333 non-fatal and fatal shootings between March and July; 59 of them were homicides. 70 of the shootings happened in July. 

"We're just trying to make adjustments as things change and just trying to keep our doors open," unit director of Shawnee Boys and Girls Club, Clanisha Coleman said.

The pandemic put a hold on the Boys and Girls Club's services forcing the staff to reach out to families via the internet. Coleman said the doors are back open with social distancing guidelines because its resources are needed now more than ever. 

"Being that school is doing NTI we are working with JCPS," Coleman said. "If a child ever feels endangered we're here."

Like Barnes, families and officials fear that 2020 is on pace for a record-breaking number of shootings.

"These are our kids, this is our future how is it okay?" Barnes said. "How is it that our kids are dying and people are okay with that?"

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