It's 40 days into the new year and Muncie has already seen two murders — and in less than a week, two homicides.
In response, Muncie community activist Marwin Strong called a press conference Feb. 9 at Price Hall to address the community.
"The reason we are here is pretty much to show respect for the families, those who have lost their loved ones including my very own," Strong said.
Strong has had to eulogize about 30 friends in the past three years — something he said is "alarming."
Family played a central role in the meeting. Whether citizens have lost a member to gun violence or not, Strong called the Muncie community to take action.
Strong will be starting a movement called "Enough Is Enough" in order to help end drug and gun violence in Muncie. Those interested can reach out to Strong at email@example.com
“We are in Muncie, Indiana, we all family," Strong said. “We have to stop this crime. We have to stop these guns. We have to lay them down. We have to find other ways. This time it's not about 'Call of Duty,' it’s not a game. Shooting guns and killing people is not of God, it’s of the Devil."
Muncie Police Department Chief Joe Winkle and Sheriff Ray Dudley were in attendance and addressed the audience.
“You need to help us because they can hide from us, but they can’t hide from you,” Winkle said.
Winkle encourages any citizens to bring forth any information they may have regarding the recent homicides. If uncomfortable with speaking to a detective, he says citizens can call his direct line.
"I want you to know we're not going to throw you under the bus, we're looking for help and answers — that's all we want," Winkle said.
Dudley shared a similar tone to Winkle, but put an emphasis on treating fellow community members like they are neighbors.
"This is our problem," Dudley said. “It's our job. It’s our job to make sure that our neighbors are safe. That’s another thing — we need to start looking out for our neighbors."
Community member Beverly Brand presented flowers to the Johnson family. Brand did this as a tribute to the aunt she lost in 1996 to murder.
"As a tribute, I try to attend all of these meetings that I can to show that love and support to all the families," Brand said. "It's rough. It's hard."