Editor’s Note: This article is part of a Wisconsin Public Radio year-long series tracking all gun-related homicides in Wisconsin.
A candlelight vigil took place Monday night for a 10-year-old girl who has become the state’s 55th gun homicide victim of the year.
Sierra Guyton died on Sunday, nearly two months after being hit by crossfire while playing outside a Milwaukee school. Her death was front-page news, as she’s one of about 30 young people in the city shot this year.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said Guyton’s death should prompt a number of measures, including more laws discouraging felons from using guns. “It underscores the need for stronger laws in Madison,” said Barrett. “It underscores the need right here in this community for a lot of people to do some soul-searching, because we have far too many people in this community who use violence as a way to solve their problems.”
Barrett stopped short of saying Guyton’s death will change the gun control debate, noting that the Newtown Connecticut school shootings 19 months ago didn’t end gun violence.
“I had hoped that what had happened in Connecticut would change the debate,” said Barrett. “It didn’t change the debate. But this was a situation where young men who were not legally allowed to have guns were able to get access to guns.”
U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee) hopes the U.S. Department of Justice can help Milwaukee; she said that she has asked Attorney General Eric Holder for emergency grants to address gun violence and some of its underlying causes.
“We have lost a lot of police assets due to budget constraints and cuts and the sequester,” said Moore. “We think Milwaukee may in fact qualify for emergency assistance.”
Moore said that when a 10-year-old girl is shot on a school playground, it shows that gun violence is everyone’s problem.