Church leaders form program to combat gun violence in New Haven

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NEW HAVEN -- A New Haven church is responding after a recent string of gun violence claimed the lives of the city's youth.

Pastor Charles Henry Brewer III of New Trinity Temple Church has formed a mentor group called the Joshua Generation Clergy Association.

14-year Tyrick Keyes died in the hospital days after being shot in New Haven last weekend. A week later, a 13-year old was also shot in the leg.

Services for Keyes will be Bethel AME, 255 Golf St. New Haven. The viewing will be at 10:00 a.m. and the service at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday.

"We feel that by us being younger that we can reach a community that some of the older preachers can not reach," explains Pastor Brewer.

The group will open the doors to its church to offer a judgment-free zone where individuals can express what's bothering them. The program will also offer financial assistance to families in need.

"When you have squalor and lack then people go to extreme measures to get whatever they need," says Pastor Brewer.

This is a very personal matter for Pastor Brewer.

He was shot five times in 1996. He almost died from his wounds.

"I used to be a large drug dealer here in the city," explains Pastor Brewer. "Went to jail in federal prison, came home and was given a second chance. And now I pastor in three locations. So I know that if second chances are given, people can make good of them."

That's why he feels the youth in New Haven should get a second chance as well.

"I don't think any one group can stop this. But I think if we could come together, work cohesively, we could make this happen," says Pastor Brewer.