Big Mama’s Safe House pushes for community violence interrupters after weekend of gun violence

2 teenagers killed on Friday and Saturday at apartment complexes; 33-year-old man killed Sunday inside North Star Mall

SAN ANTONIO – After a weekend of violence, a community group that works to make San Antonio safer is worried that we’ll see more shootings this summer.

“The summer’s just beginning, you know, and the city is not prepared, hasn’t prepared itself for the influx of the violence that normally happens during the summer months,” said Bennie Price, CEO of Big Mama’s Safe House.

In shootings from Friday to Sunday, four people are dead, seven more hurt and many more are left shaken.

Price says it’s not over.

“San Antonio deserves better,” Price said.

To Price, better means more. The city gave Big Mama’s Safe House $100,000 for its community programs aimed at cutting down on gun violence.

While grateful, Price thinks it’s still not enough.

He says people cannot just rely on the police to stop what one SAPD sergeant called a gun violence epidemic this weekend.

“The biggest thing is gun violence. And we have an answer for it, and that’s the community violence interrupters,” Price said.

Those community violence interrupters are everyday men and women with boots on the ground, stepping in to stop violence before it happens.

“We come from the community, you know, and we know who are the high risks of perpetrators of gun violence. And we’re building relationships with them,” Price said.

Between Friday and Sunday, police say there were three targeted shootings but some of the victims were not the intended targets.

“Matter of fact, the intended target in these shootings was not the one that most suffered,” SAPD Chief William McManus said during a press conference Monday morning.

Price says these kinds of heartbreaking realities will keep happening unless more is done to stop the gun violence in its tracks.

“We’re going to have a backlash of this violence before we can get ahead of it. But we’re doing everything that we can to get ahead of it and to stop it,” Price said.

Looking at SAPD data from January to April this year and last year, homicides went up from 55 to 60 from 2022 to 2023.

Meanwhile, assaults dropped 11,343 to 9,476.

These numbers aren’t broken down by shootings versus stabbings or other violent crimes.

KSAT 12 News has been doing our own tracking. Since May 22, we have covered nearly 20 shootings between then and June 5.

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About the Authors:

Leigh Waldman is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.