‘This one scares me’: Some predict a violent summer for Denver-area youth

Updated: Jun 8

DENVER (KDVR) — At Denver’s Struggle of Love Foundation, Jason McBride is doing his best to keep kids out of trouble.

The violence prevention specialist works tirelessly to give underprivileged kids access to games, jobs and opportunities. But McBride is growing concerned about what he calls “summer-level violence” already occurring in metro Denver.

“We’re in a crisis right now,” he said. “I’m as scared as I’ve ever been about what we could be facing this summer.”

Already in 2022, at least 10 people under the age of 19 have been shot and killed in Denver and Aurora. On Thursday, a 15-year-old was arrested with a loaded handgun in his backpack after his mom called police to turn him in.

“She probably saved her child’s life, either from a long prison sentence or from being killed,” McBride said. “We need more parents to step up and make those hard decisions.”

‘I have to have a gun,’ kids say

McBride said kids are approaching him on a weekly basis, describing the situation they’re seeing on metro Denver streets.

“Everybody has a weapon now, and we’re in the wild, wild West,” he said. “We’re dealing with kids who say ‘Listen, I have to have a gun, because if I have beef with a kid, he’s going to have a gun.”

McBride said parents need to take a more proactive approach this summer, ensuring they know where their kids are and who they’re with. He’s concerned the spring violence will only escalate as school ends and summer begins.

“Just be involved — get involved in your kid’s life,” he said. “We have to find something constructive for a majority of these kids this summer.”

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