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Struggle of Love Foundation calling for community outreach after recent spike in youth violence

2 boys were walking down the street in northern Aurora near the 900 block of Zion Street on Friday around 2:58 p.m. when a car pulled up beside them.


"Shots were fired from this vehicle, striking the two young boys," said Aurora Police Public Information Officer Matthew Longshore.



Denver, Colo. (CBS4) – One of the boys who was shot was a 13-year-old. He was taken to the hospital with serious injuries. The other boy died.


"A 12-year-old boy has tragically died from the injuries from the shooting," Longshore said.

Late Friday evening 18-year-old Rolando Felipe was arrested by Aurora Police and charged with one count of 1st Degree Murder and one count of Attempted 1st Degree Murder.

Longshore says situations like this have become a regular occurrence in the Denver Metro area.


"Youth violence continues to be an issue metro-wide, and it is apparent tonight with these two young boys getting shot," he said.


Joel Hodge agrees. He works for the Struggle of Love Foundation. Their goal is to end youth violence. He and his son Toka Hodge say these days, all the fuss is over little things.


"Small little conversations," Toka said. "It could be a small argument about basketball, anything, and people just taking their anger too far."

Joel acknowledges, arguments and disagreements are nothing new, but he says today's youth have a lot on their plates. He says negative influences from music and video games combined with economic oppression, lack of family structure, and societal pressures and woes are pushing our youth to the edge.


"That layered onto a baby now, and they grow up like this… They're angry," Joel Hodge said.

Toka says he is worried about his peers and saddened for his community. He hopes soon Denver area youth will learn to think before they pull a gun and start respecting each other's lives.


"Just because you're mad, you don't have to react a certain way off an impulse decision that you're going to end up regretting," Toka said. "(I want) people (to) know that you're going to end up regretting the decision you can make. And that you're going to affect not just that person, that you're going to hurt but you're affecting their family members. You're affecting the whole community."


If you are a youth or parent and you feel you or your child needs help, you can reach out to Struggle of Love. They have resources for youth and even have mental health counselors available for youth to talk about anything troubling them.

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