MARYLAND

Parents, police discuss 'State of Suitland'

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The "State of Suitland" has hundreds of parents and teens calling for change.

Two Suitland students were murdered last week. Six students have been killed in Prince George's County this school year.

With so many deaths still on the hearts and minds of many in the county, hundreds of people flocked to a rec center Monday night to discuss the spiraling problem and seek genuine solutions.

"He was a kid you will never forget. We loved him dearly. He was precious to us," Drew Freeman Middle School Principal Marla Dean said of 15-year-old Charles Walker Jr. "He had a plan for his life."

Walker was killed during a robbery attempt a week ago.

Some like Dean came to the meeting, in part, out of grief for her former student. Others came to denounce the lure of violence and guns. They also talked about the lack of options and hope, which drive some to the life of a thug.

Law enforcement officials made an appeal to parents.

"How do we get to them? How do we change their behavior? How do we change their attitudes? We need your help," police said.

While the vast crowd included many adults and a spattering of children, a few present were in the targeted age group - teenage males, who are most often linked to gun violence in the county.

"The kids are on the corner, the kids are not going to come here and hear this so this type of conversation or this type of action or this type of action needs to go to the corner."

Wayne and Kimberly Matthews came out of concern and are eager for answers to the violence problem. But they left waiting for something.

"I mean, I was looking for a resolution that I haven't gotten,"

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