Birmingham city leaders react to violent weekend

Birmingham city leaders react to violent weekend
The scene outside Workplay in Birmingham after seven teens were shot Sunday night. (Source: WBRC Staff)

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Birmingham city leaders reacted Tuesday to the violence over the Labor Day holiday weekend.

On Friday night, 16-year-old William Edwards - a member of the Woodlawn High School football team - was shot dead. And seven people were shot outside of Workplay on Sunday night.

The city council discussed the violence with Mayor Randall Woodfin on Tuesday. The mayor told the council the police department is facing problems hiring more officers with nationwide competition and salary issues.

Still, Woodfin said more has to be done to provide jobs and mentors to young people.

But not everyone agreed more officers is the answer.

“Hiring more police officers is not the answer. It comes from the way we address the problems in our homes and the way we are raised,” said Birmingham City Councilwoman Sheila Tyson.

Birmingham’s new police chief says the Workplay shooting was not a mass shooting where people were targeted.

“Once again, disagreements between youths and unfortunately the weapon of choice nowadays happens to be handguns. We no longer have verbal disputes and fights. Everyone wants to resort to a handgun,” Chief Patrick Smith said.

Chief Smith said getting information ahead of time from the community was the only way the violence could have been prevented.

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