MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — This summer, there has been a lot of violence in the news. Just on Sunday evening in Minneapolis alone, police are trying to find the gunman responsible for the city’s 16th deadly shooting this year.
Eight years ago, one man began dedicating his life to making some of the Minneapolis toughest neighborhoods safer. Now, he’s calling it quits.
Decked out in camouflage, KG Wilson showed up at every homicide and every vigil. Besides working for criminal gangs anonymous (CGA) and the Charez Jones Foundation, he would also pray with mourners and help them heal.
Now, he is calling it quits.
Wilson said he is heartbroken and tired. He has seen what life on the streets can do to young people as well as an entire community. It’s now time for him to retire.
He told WCCO’s Reg Chapman, exclusively, that he can’t continue to witness a culture of greed that has taken over the true mission of ending the violence.
Where it all began, it comes to an end for Wilson. Eight years ago, a Loring Park bench was home for the former gang member. He sat there for months asking God to die. Instead, he says, God sent him on a mission to stop the violence.
“There will be no more speaking or anything publically like that anymore,” said KG Wilson.
Wilson said witnessing greed emotionally tore him apart, leading him to this decision. All the vigils, all the prayers, the hugs and comfort he brought to this community will be no more.
“Most of the people I came in contact with really didn’t want a solution. They just wanted to put a band aid on it,” Wilson said.
His frustration has stemmed from the fighting of youth intervention groups paid to help get kids on the right track.
“We have to stop bickering about who is going to get what funding and what money and let’s save some of the lives of our children,” Wilson said.
Wilson says children are dying because of their actions.
“Our people are hurting and it can’t just keep being year after year after year about money,” Wilson said.
Although he never got grants or money for anywhere to do the work he did, Wilson said he’s not bitter. Wilson said it is not about the money.
“That’s why I came and left without,” Wilson said.
Wilson still has faith one day there will be real change in Minneapolis, and hopefully he will play a small, behind-the-scene role in that transformation.
“The same God that picked me up off this bench and allowed me to go on that mission for that eight years — I’m quite sure — is planning something else in me right now,” Wilson said.
Wilson said he will continue to support organizations that are out there changing and saving lives. He also says the relationships he has with families that he has helped through tragedy will always be.
Wilson wants people to learn to help others because it is the right thing to do — not because they can profit from it.