At least 9 young people killed in Saginaw in past 7 months - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

At least 9 young people killed in Saginaw in past 7 months

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SAGINAW (WJRT) -

(12/26/12) - In the past seven months, at least nine young people have lost their lives to violence in Saginaw.

The youngest member of that group, Layla Jones, was only 6 years old when she was murdered.

Layla's father hopes the new year will bring about change in the city.

Saginaw's acting police chief says a common theme runs through many of these crimes: retaliation.

Layla Jones died during a dispute she had nothing to do with.

"It still comes to mind and it hurts everyday I think of my child," said Shawrone Jones, Layla's father.

Jones can still look at pictures of his daughter Layla. The 6 year old girl died while visiting Saginaw in August.

She and her father were hit during a drive-by shooting on Essling Street. Neither were the intended targets.

"Broke my heart right there. Now I'm still feeling sad, you know. Like yesterday, not being here for Christmas because I really needed her here. All I could do was look at pictures," Jones said.

Several young men were arrested and charged in Layla's murder. Investigators say the shooting was in retaliation to the murder of 21-year old Bobby Bailey. He was killed in the same neighborhood just a few hours earlier.

Since June, at least nine people 20 years old or younger have been killed in Saginaw.

"We've been taking steps this year and we continue to try to evolve new strategies to address the problem. We've already developed a major crimes task force. We've put out extra patrols on the streets to look at the different areas where we believe this is all happening. Also we are looking to start a new street team that would hopefully come together with the sheriff's department as well as the state police," said acting Saginaw police chief Brian Lipe.

Shawrone Jones hopes to see more done to help reduce the crime rate in his city. Community activists have held marches to bring awareness about Layla's murder and others.

"We need to come together. It just hurts to see it just keep going on like that," Jones said.

Lipe says his department is also looking into starting a new street team. He hopes to partner with the Saginaw County Sheriff's department and Michigan State Police.

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