ROCKFORD (WREX) — A day after two mass shootings in 13 hours, activists in the Rockford area are calling for peace.
“If it happens in Dayton, it could easily happen here,” said Coalition of Latino Leaders member Rudy Valdez.
On Saturday, police say 21-year-old Patrick Wood Crusius opened fire in a packed Wal-Mart, killing 22 people and injuring 26 others.
NBC News reports just before the first attack in El Paso, the suspect posted a diatribe against immigrants in Texas. He also pushed talking points about preserving European identity in America.
That’s why local leaders in the Latino community say it’s time that people in Rockford and across the nation come together and use peace to over come violence.
“There is people that are hateful everywhere. That’s why we need to stay vigilant and continue to communicate with one another,” said Valdez.
Leaders also say more conversations about mass shootings need to be held at both the local and federal level.
“Communication, awareness, working with the regional leaders, working with your congressional representatives emphasizing the problem,” said Valdez.
“I think some of the conversations needs to turn towards what can we do to start preventing this because hopes and prayers can only go so far,” said Northwest Illinois YWCA CEO Kris Machajewski.
Activists say when it comes to mass shootings,the fear is when the next shooting will happen and how many more will die.
“As a parent, you don’t worry to much about yourselves but you worry about your children or your grand children. That’s where the problem is because where are they safe? really? where are they safe?” said Valdez.