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‘Street Soldiers’ walk and talk with neighbors to prevent gun violence in York

YORK, Pa. --  A group of York City men look to prevent gun violence by going door to door.

They call themselves the 'Street Soldiers'. Their mission? Curb gun violence by building relationships between neighbors.

'The 'Street Soldiers' are a group of men right now that we have that are going out in the community," explained Fredrick Walker, a member of Shiloh Baptist Church and a 'Street Soldier' himself.

"Engaging families, engaging residents, engaging young people," said Larry T. Walthour, a senior pastor at Shiloh Baptist Church.

Armed with just flyers and their voices, they're looking to connect and empower neighbors living in the city to become block leaders or to just simply become friends.

"I think it makes a big difference because it's different when you don't know somebody and you're arguing with them," said Walker.

Knocking on doors in an effort open new ones.

"We want you to feel safe. We want your wife to feel safe in this community," said Pastor Walthour to a community member.

It started over a year ago at Shiloh Baptist Church because a group of men wanted to make a difference.

"Well, we're not afraid. We know there's a lot of violence out here, but we know somebody got to take a stand," explained Pastor Walthour.

Police say recent gun violence at Bantz Park, across from the church, left two people injured, one critically.

"There's casing on the tables. We counted 40-something," described Walker.

Their solution? Communication.

"I know that there's a lot of different issues within the city, and that's what want to get to the bottom of, whether it's one brother, versus another brother in the east end or west end," said Walker.

"If it's just three of us, we walk, and the community knows who we are so we're now building those relationships. When we come, they don't run from us, they run to us," added Walthour.

Some neighbors say it's exactly what the city needs.

"I think its a great thing for our city, especially for the older group of gentlemen coming together and trying to talk to these younger boys," said Marrin Mitzel of York.

Members of Shiloh Baptist Church will hold a community meeting Thursday evening at 7 at the church on 740 West Locust Street in York.

They're encouraging neighbors to come out and discuss ways to stop the violence.

The 'Street Soldiers' walk every other Wednesday and say anyone is welcome to walk with them.