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Community outraged by gun violence after young teen shot and killed

Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 11:40 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A community is searching for a solution after coming face-to-face with a situation they’ve dealt with in the past.

On Wednesday evening, Charleston Police say Kelvin “K.J.” Taylor, 18, was shot and killed on the corner of Central Avenue and Glenwood Avenue around 8:15 p.m. Taylor was a senior at Capital High School, set to graduate next month.

“I have been very outspoken in the city and the community about the gun violence that has been plaguing our youth,” said Charleston City Council Member Deanna McKinney. “We haven’t had any help. There hasn’t been (any) real outrage or cry about this.”

On April 23, 2014, McKinney’s son, Tymel McKinney was shot and killed on his front porch while eating pizza. Police say Tymel was an innocent victim of random gang violence and, ever since, McKinney has been a strong advocate against gun violence in Charleston.

“This month marks seven years that my son, Tymel McKinney, was gunned down on my porch, murdered,” Deanna McKinney said. “Eating pizza with his friends, minding his business, so this definitely hits close to home.”

Martec Washington, who has lived on Charleston’s West Side his whole life, showed up at the scene minutes after the 911 call was placed.

“I saw the police (flying) down my street and I took off running. Anytime I see the police coming down my street, I’m on scene because, this is my community so I felt an obligation,” Washington said. “I got on the phone, I called both of my representatives in the area, (Council Member) Tiffany Wesley-Plear and I called (Council Member) Deanna McKinney and like clockwork, they were here instantly.”

Washington said he saw Taylor around the community plenty of times, and he never caused any problems -- only brought smiles to peoples’ faces.

“He’s always been respectful. Anytime I say ‘hi’ to him, he’d say ‘hey how are you’, always had a smile,” Washington told WSAZ. “He’s been to the second avenue center multiple times playing basketball, come in to get a water and (when someone asked him) ‘hey can you clean up those tables or grab something’ instantly, (he said) ‘yes ma’am, how can I help, is that all you need?’ That’s not things you find in children anymore.”

“We’ve had more concern about the needle exchange program then we’ve had of the kids being murdered in the streets,” McKinney said. “Just Monday at council I mentioned this at the meeting and here it is 48 hours later, another innocent child gunned down on the West Side.”

McKinney said she and Washington were out for most of the night trying to consult friends of K.J. and other children in the community.

“We have to do better than that, these kids are our future, these are the next presidents, governors, senators, mayors, council people and how can you expect them to lead our country, lead our city, if they’re dealing with nothing but trauma?” she said. “It’s sad, so sad.”

“If this doesn’t bring anything else, I just want it to bring attention to the West Side,” Washington said. “We’re under funded, we’re under loved, everybody wants to scream and yell about the West Side. Well, let’s start doing something about it.”

WSAZ asked Charleston Police for details on the events leading up to the shooting Wednesday night. However, they were not able to release any of those details yet.

Keep checking the WSAZ app for the latest updates.

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