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City officials meet to discuss reducing youth violence

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) -The Regional St. Louis Youth Task Force gathered at the Forest Park Visitors Center Tuesday morning to discuss the start of a 3-year study of ways to keep young people out of prison and the morgue.

“Keeping young people in school,” said St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley.  “That is paramount.  That has to take precedence."

"We want to increase the availability of jobs for children in the summer,” said St. Louis City Mayor Francis Slay.  “So when they are not in school, they are being productive."

On July 10, 201, 9-year-old Tyrese Short died after someone shot the boy in the head.  The child was riding in the back seat of an SUV.  He was right next to his father, who police believe was the intended target.  This was in North St. Louis.

On September 1, 2013, Labor Day weekend, a man died and bar patrons outran a hail of bullets in East St. Louis, Illinois.

On October 6, 2013, police found Raynard L. Rayford in the middle of the street in Jennings, Missouri.  A 30-year-old was arrested for shooting him to death.

But runners in Forest Park still remember when an off-duty St. Charles County sheriff's deputy shot and killed one young man and injured two others near the Grand Basin on September 23, 2013.  Police said the three were trying to rob the officer.

"Talking about violence and getting together to act against violence,” said runner Erin King. “I think is really important especially in the park where we are running we are active here."

One of the highest-profile shootings of the year, as well as this meeting happened right here in Forest Park.  But, the report looks at 33 zip codes in St. Louis City, County and St. Clair County, Illinois.

"We have way too much violence, youth violence, in our community,” Slay explained.  “And, this runs all across the St. Louis Region which is why we have a regional approach."

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