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Akron's mayor condemns Texas mass shooting, calls for action on local gun violence

Akron City Council building.
Mayor Dan Horrigan released a statement condemning a deadly school shooting at a Texas elementary school a little over a week after Akron City Council passed a resolution calling on state and federal lawmakers to pass tighter gun laws.

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan released a statement Wednesday condemning yesterday’s mass shooting at a Texas elementary school, calling for legislators to pass tighter gun laws.

In a news release, Horrigan expressed condolences to the families of 19 children and two teachers killed Tuesday at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

Locally, a 15-year-old boy was shot and killed in an altercation in Akron yesterday, he said in the statement.

“Each death due to gun violence is tragic. Each one leaves behind a grieving family and a mourning community,” Horrigan said. “Our hearts break each and every time there is a victim of senseless gun violence and it’s far too often we have to express condolences to those victims and their families.”

Horrigan called on state and federal lawmakers to pass “common-sense gun laws” to combat the issue.

“This country needs to wake the hell up and realize it has a gun problem. This isn't about politics. This is about protecting our children and our communities. I'm urging every state capital and Congress to take swift action,” Horrigan said in the statement.

Yesterday’s tragedy in Texas came a little over a week after another mass shooting in which 10 people died at a grocery store in Buffalo.

Last week, Akron City Council unanimously passed a resolution sponsored by Horrigan in response to the Buffalo shooting condemning gun violence and calling on legislators to pass tighter gun restrictions.

The resolution will be sent to Gov. Mike DeWine and Akron's elected officials in the state legislature and in the U.S. Congress to show the city's support for gun restrictions, according to the official document.

After passing the resolution, several council members spoke up with concerns about local gun violence, particularly heading into the summer months.

Ward 4 Councilman Russ Neal said crime increases during the summer when kids are out of school. He wants council to use American Rescue Plan Act funds to support community organizations that provide enrichment activities for youth.

“We can be proactive by providing opportunities for our youth so that they don’t get caught up in it,” Neal said.

The mayor’s office recently hired a violence prevention coordinator tasked with developing a strategy to address gun violence. Council members want to meet with him soon to express their concerns and work together on solutions.

Anna Huntsman covers Akron and Canton for Ideastream Public Media.