Police say there are at least 300 gang members in New Hanover County. And for every known member, they say there are several more unknowns. With gangs come gun violence, and many fear it is on the rise here. Newschannel 3 was at a forum Monday night that focused on what can be done to stop it. Emmett Irving was shot and killed outside his Wilmington home on the night of July 26, 2008. His family believes he died at the hands of gang members, and said Irving was not in a gang. "It's time to stop the young people from killing each other," said Emmett Irving’s father. Monday night his father, along with other family members, came out to talk about gun violence. Irving said it needs to stop. "It was my baby boy that got killed and there's no good reason for anybody to take someone else's life." A panel discussed the issue and took questions and comments from the audience, including Irving's cousin, Kenyatta Clark. “We want to prevent other families from having to go through what we've been through," said Clark. Kenyatta encourages parents to educate themselves at events like this. "It's just really getting worse now and I really think that attention needs to be brought to that." Assistant District Attorney, Jon David, was among the panelists. He said for this issue, being politically correct is a roadblock. It is very much a black-on-black issue. The majority of New Hanover County's 31 pending murder cases are black-on-black incidents. “I think these forums will get the parents more informed and the parents can start dealing with their children more instead of leaving them in front of the computers and the TV's by themselves to raise themselves,” said David. Irving's family continues to wait for an arrest in the case of their murdered loved one. They also hope forums like this help make a difference. Other panelists included Wilmington police officers and the New Hanover County Sheriff's Gang Task Force. They were joined by the mother of a gun violence victim, a pastor and a UNCW violence researcher.
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