Lancaster NAACP holds meeting after teens reportedly shot at police

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COLUMBIA, Pa. - Dozens of people gathered Thursday to discuss non-violent solutions that will help the community and police respect each other and work together to make their community safer.

The meeting here stemmed from a shooting last Friday in which police say 18-year-old Trenton Nace and his 17-year-old cousin Marquell Rentas shot at police officers in Columbia.

The Lancaster NAACP says it is relieved the situation was resolved by police without bloodshed.

"We think they handled that in an exemplary manner," Rita Smith-Wade-El, the Lancaster NAACP vice-president, said. "The two young men were taken into custody with no guns pulled [and] no one was hurt."

The NAACP says violent incidents like this run counter to their goals of mutual trust and respect between the public and law enforcement, so they held this meeting to work toward that.

"Your voice, opinions, ideas, experiences will help decide on what steps we need to take in order to move forward in building stronger relationships between police and community," Lancaster NAACP President Blanding Watson said.

Another goal for community leaders is to ensure the public follows law enforcement directives while also holding them accountable.

"We want the police to be safe and come home every night to their loved ones and we want our boys girls men and women to arrive home safely every night to their loved ones," one woman said.

The attendees broke off into small groups to toss around ideas that public officials and police could implement with the public's help to help everyone get along just fine.

"We want everyone to feel that by working together we can come up with solutions that are non-violent that protect everyone," Smith-Wade-El said.

Organizers here will be taking the feedback from Thursday's meeting and will create a plan of action they say will hopefully help the community and law enforcement without resorting to violence.

Organizers say they will present the best ideas to elected officials and law enforcement in the coming weeks and they hope after that there could be some movement.

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