Pastor Charlie Muller of Victory Church in Albany says enough is enough following the death of 35-year-old Sharf Addalim. The shooting happening right outside the JC Club where he typically serves hundreds of meals to kids daily.
After a stray bullet hit the office window during Friday’s drive-by shooting, those meals are now on pause.
“We suspended everything for now, and we have places that do rely on us for food. It’s a challenge for us right now,” said Pastor Muller.
“Yes, I am pretty scared. I used to just sit on my porch with no worries, and now I’m just scared to just even sit outside,” said Ciara Stewart.
As the community feels on edge, local leaders are seeing what can be done to keep the streets safe.
“We know that in and of themselves gun buyback programs are not particularly affective. But we believe if we work with the community to determine how to get the guns off the street, we believe there are no bad ideas,” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan.
“To say it doesn’t work isn’t fair because you never invested in it or tried it. There’s nothing being tried. We want our JC Club to be an outstation for police officers. It’s time to enforce the crime that’s going on in this corner,” said Pastor Muller.
Members of Albany 518 Snug, an anti-violence initiative hope to bring a sense of community to an area that has been rocked by gun violence.
“So, when violence happens, we just pull up, cook and talk to the kids. Right now, when people are out, they don’t feel safe. So we are trying to do something so they can come out, feel safe and play,” said Takeam Bradley.
“When something like this hits our community, it brings the community a few steps back. But we are willing to put in the work and bring it back together,” said Jerome Brown, Project Manager of Albany 518 Snug.