BRADENTON -- Pastors and police met Wednesday morning to talk about the rise in violent crime in the community and discuss action plans to combat the problem.
More than 30 people attended the meeting in the Bradenton Central Community Redevelopment Agency conference room hosted by Patrick Carnegie, director of 13 AV Dream Center, where a man was gunned down Aug. 1, and state Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg.
"The purpose of this meeting is to create partnership and trust where it might not have previously existed and to move forward with sustained action," said Rouson.
Leaders discussed the re
cent spree of shootings in the community, including the slaying of Brenton Coleman Sr. at the Dream Center at the end of a youth football practice with hundreds of people in attendance.
Carneige said the meeting is a precursor to a comprehensive plan for community programs such as mentoring, economic development and advocacy groups working together with law enforcement.
Both pastors and police agreed working together will be required to change the community mindset when it comes to crime.
Bradenton Police Chief Michael Radzilowski said the department will continue to go after violent offenders and work with the Manatee County Sheriff's Office to solve cases.
"The ball is in their court to see how they will assist," said Radzilowski.
He said the police have a good idea of who's doing the crimes, but they have to prove in court. He said the police need resident assistance in extracting the criminals from the law-abiding community.
Jerry Parrish, youth-at-risk director for the Manatee County YMCA, said he is tired of burying children and will work with community leaders and police to change the crime problem.
"We've all had too many funerals," said Parrish, who is also a minister. "We have to work together to change this community. We've got to take a stand and we got to do it together."
The 13 AV Dream Center will host a service geared at 4 p.m. Aug. 25 at the center, 201 13 Ave. W., to uplift hope and positivity, said Carnegie.
Janey Tate, city of Bradenton and Palmetto reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041. You can follow her on Twitter at Janey_Tate.