MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s one of the most troubling statistics of 2020: homicide is up in Minneapolis. There were 48 in 2019, but there have already been 59 this year. WCCO talked with one of those on the front lines and the simple way they are asking you to help save lives.

Bishop Richard Howell Jr. is tasked with the toughest of jobs.

“What do you tell a grieving mother?” he asked. “What do you tell a grieving father? What do you tell a grieving community?”

His church, Shiloh Temple, is in the heart of North Minneapolis.

“I can’t tell you how many funerals we’ve had to host right here on the Northside at the church,” he said.

Many of them are young people, like well-loved high school senior Andre Conley.

“I feel like we can’t continue to ignore these acts that are happening. I feel they are being ignored,” Conley’s aunt Fatemah Green said.

Conley is the 59th homicide victim, and his funeral is next.

“We have to do something that can at least curb the violence for a night or two or three or four than it’s worth it. If we don’t do anything then we are all guilty,” Howell said.

(credit: CBS)

Next week, he is helping buy back guns, no questions asked.

“No one is gonna get arrested. No one is gonna get charged for anything. All we want is give us your guns. That’s one less gun we have to worry about in this community and one less life we have to be concerned about that may be taken away,” he said.

And one less funeral.

“We shouldn’t have to go through our loved ones being murdered and killed for no reason. We need a way to stop that, and I think that buyback program will help with that,” Howell said. “There has to be more than just praying. There has to be direct action to make those prayers come to pass.”

It’s a program they are putting their faith in. The program is Saturday, Oct. 3 at Shiloh Temple, located at 1201 West Broadway in North Minneapolis, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

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