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Lexington leaders 'stay the course' amid two-week spike in violence

Josh James

Lexington city leaders say a recent uptick in violence is troubling, but they remain committed to the strategies the mayor’s office has implemented.

"It's disappointing," Mayor Linda Gorton told reporters Monday. "We have been in such a good place with our violence going down."

The last two weekends have marked a reversal, with a number of shootings driving homicide numbers up, but Gorton is expressing confidence that the overall downward trend will continue.

Devine Carama, director of the city’s youth anti-violence program, known as One Lexington, described the string of back-to-back homicides as heartbreaking.

"Obviously we knew that the progress that we made this year... that there were going to be spikes here and there," he says. "But we never could have predicted this."

Yet Carama says the spikes don’t alter the broader strategy.

"If anything, it just heightens some of our intervention efforts, which is supporting those being impacted by gun violence. If we see any situations that we believe retaliatory violence could be down the line, then it may adjust our strategy a little bit in regards to that, but the work that we've been doing with our community partners... we're just going to stay the course," Carama explained.

The violence intervention official said his group has taken notice of an increasing number of juveniles gathering downtown late on weekend nights and has bolstered outreach efforts to affected areas.

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.