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'They Are Hurting.' Lexington Youth Cut Off From Normal Supports

Karyn Czar

With Lexington losing six teenagers to gun violence since late April, city leaders are pleading with community members to guide at-risk youth to support services.

In a press conference Thursday, city officials stopped short of blaming the violence directly on pandemic lockdowns, but Mayor Linda Gorton said the uptick is being seen across the country. She said COVID-19 restrictions and cancellations are creating barriers.

"At every turn, our young people are cut off from the people who might normally help them," she told reporters.

Lexington Police Chief Lawrence Weathers said he's hearing from teens who lack direction and don't believe they have a future.

"They are struggling and they are hurting," he said. "We need to honor them by listening."

And guiding them toward people and resources that can help, he said. Several agencies are offering victims support services, including the police department and the county sheriff's office. The city is also pointing to free or affordable mental health services. That list can be found below.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.