PANAMA CITY-- A local church is pushing for a community response to recent gun violence and shooting deaths in Panama City.
Nearly 100 people are spent their Friday night at St. John the Missionary Baptist Church, meeting, praying and discussing solutions to the alarming increase in the murder rate.
Several pastors are combining their efforts in hopes of spreading the word and raising awareness within the community.
They want to target young people, who have been extremely vulnerable to the recent violence.
Organizers want them to understand they can turn to police and the church.
"Guns are not the answer," Senior Pastor Delwynn Williams said. "Hate is not that answer and racism is not the answer. All of the problems and the ills and aches that they go through is not the answer. They really can find some help and some hope."
Organizers hope other local groups will join their efforts.
The larger community campaign continues throughout the month with a youth rally, community forum and a march at Tommy Oliver Stadium.