Violent Crime Uptick Continues in Dallas; 2 Teens Killed Sunday

Sunday night's double-murder in Old East Dallas is the latest in a string of summer shootings involving teenagers.

According to Dallas police, 17-year-olds Gregory Horton and Zacchaeus Banks both died outside Roseland Community Center after they were shot. Two other teenagers were also shot and taken to the hospital.

"The whole community is just shook," assistant community director Cierra Cotton said. "The windows were shot out and of course there was residue on the ground from the bodies and stuff."

Cotton said she believed better security outside the community center was needed, but perhaps more importantly, she thought more attention needed to be paid to young people who are now out of school.

"This happens when kids don't have enough to do," she said.

State Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) said he agreed that focusing on community factors was as important as policing.

"Regardless of how many police officers you put on the street, there's just no way you can stop family violence, they can't be in everyone's home," West said.

The Dallas Police Department is understaffed by nearly 700 officers and Police Chief U. Renee Hall has faced scrutiny over the city's rising rate of violent crime. But West said he believed a fair amount of what's currently happening was  beyond the reach of police and must be reconciled in the community.

"We've got to do something about that particular behavior (family violence) and I know churches are a part of that, community services are a part of that," he said.

Texas A&M is conducting a study on crime in Dallas that is due back in coming weeks, West said. He said he hoped it would give city and police officials a more complete view of what was happening and how to combat what was now among the most severe crime waves in decades.

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