Gun Violence

Gun violence isn't a problem unique to South Florida, but it is South Florida's problem. Gun-related injuries are one of the leading causes of death in the state. And there are even more people who survive bullets.

WLRN is committed to telling the stories of what happens when people are harmed by guns. We do this through continuous coverage of issues and protagonists, as well as by long-term, special projects.

Some of our recent projects:

You can also see our continuous coverage below.

Nadege Green

Most people who get shot survive. That’s true here in South Florida and across the country.

Suspect In Sebring Bank Attack Dreamed Of Hurting Classmates

Jan 25, 2019

A man accused of fatally shooting five women at a small-town bank in Florida had dreamed of hurting classmates in high school and had long been fascinated with killing, police and a former girlfriend said Thursday.

SunTrust banks will observe a moment of silence Friday to honor the five people slain when a gunman opened fire inside the Sebring branch.

Updated at 6:30 p.m. 1/24:

Investigators have found no obvious reason why a man accused of fatally shooting five women picked a small-town bank in Sebring as the place to carry out his attack, authorities said Thursday.

Authorities say they’ve arrested a man they say opened fire in Highlands County, killing five people.

Sebring Police Chief Karl Hoglund said officers responded to a SunTrust Bank branch about 90 miles southeast of Tampa Wednesday afternoon. They found five people dead after a SWAT team managed to get inside.

State Liability In Shooting Deaths Goes To Supreme Court

Jan 23, 2019

In a civil lawsuit stemming from a man killing four of his stepchildren in 2010, plaintiffs are asking the Florida Supreme Court to take up a dispute about how much money a state agency can be required to pay because of allegations of negligence.

Nadege Green / WLRN News

As neighbors in Miami’s Liberty City neighborhood lit up the sky with celebratory fireworks in the early evening hours of New Year’s Day, families streamed into Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist church for what has become an annual tradition for parents who lost their children to gun violence. 

 

For trauma surgeon Joseph Sakran, gun violence is a very personal issue. He has treated hundreds of gun wound victims, comforted anxious loved ones and told mothers and fathers that their children would not be coming home.

But Sakran's empathy for his patients and their families extends beyond the hospital. Sakran knows the pain of gun violence because he is a survivor of it; when he was 17, he took a bullet to the throat after a high school football game.

As the nation’s eyes were on Broward County, Florida, for a flawed, week long election recount, a state commission a few miles away was investigating the county government’s role in the Feb. 14 massacre at a Parkland high school. It found that failed leadership, inconsistent or unenforced policies, and misinformation contributed to the 17 deaths.

Doctors across the U.S. have become increasingly vocal in addressing gun violence as a public health crisis, a posture that recently has drawn the wrath of the National Rifle Association.

Yet, in Colorado, a diverse group that includes doctors, public health researchers and gun shop owners has come together to bridge this divide. The Colorado Firearm Safety Coalition has found common ground on at least one issue: preventing firearm suicide.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Commission

Day two of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission hearings began with an examination of the blueprints of the school—a breakdown of whether architecture and building materials were a factor in the February massacre of 17 people there—and ended with public anger at the more disturbing examination of how Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies remained away from the school that day instead of moving toward the shooting.

Editor's note: This story includes graphic imagery and language.

A mocking tweet from the National Rifle Association has stirred many physicians to post on social media about their tragically frequent experiences treating patients in the aftermath of gun violence.

Updated at 3:10 p.m. ET

A lone gunman carrying a .45-caliber pistol killed 12 people at a country music bar in Thousand Oaks, Calif., late Wednesday, authorities say. When the shooting started, the Borderline Bar & Grill likely held hundreds of people, drawn by the weekly "College Country Night."

The dead include Sgt. Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran of law enforcement who went into the nightclub within minutes of receiving an emergency call. As many as 15 people inside the bar were injured, and one person had a minor gunshot wound.

Leon County Schools has confirmed the gunman in Friday’s Hot Yoga Tallahassee shooting worked as a substitute teacher for nearly a year.

Jessica Bakeman / WLRN

Activist Emma González, who became famous after giving an impassioned speech in Fort Lauderdale days after the shooting at her Parkland high school in February, stood on the steps of Florida's old state Capitol building on Monday and urged people to vote.

"Gun violence is on the ballot," González said. "Our lives are in the hands of the people that we elect. Vote in every election like it's your last, because it very well could be."

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