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In Manchester, a crowd gathers to honor victims of gun violence and call for change

Manchester Gun Violence Protest
Gaby Lozada
Christine Robinson said her son Brandon David's murder hasn't been solved yet. He was killed in Texas.

About 50 people gathered for a somber ceremony at Manchester’s City Hall Friday morning to raise awareness about gun violence.

Similar events happened in cities all across the country as part of an annual effort to mark Gun Violence Awareness Day.

Friday’s event came in the wake of several mass shootings across the country: in Tulsa, Okla.; Uvalde, Texas; Buffalo, N.Y., and more. In her remarks to the crowd gathered in Manchester, Mayor Joyce Craig asked for a moment of silence for gun violence victims and said city officials are working to avoid a tragedy here.

“We pledge to keep firearms out of the wrong hands to keep our children safe,” she said.

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Gaby Lozada
National Gun Violence Awareness Day is traditionally marked on the first Friday in June, according to WearOrange.org, which advocates to end gun violence.

According to data shared with NHPR by the Manchester Police Department, the city has recorded 100 gun crimes this year.

At Friday’s event, Chief Allen Aldenberg said his department is trying to fight gun violence on multiple fronts, including increased community partnerships and youth outreach. He also said the department is trying to increase foot patrols in areas of the city with higher gun violence patterns.

Also in attendance for Friday’s event were several local parents whose children were killed by guns. Christine Robinson, a Manchester resident whose son was murdered in 2018, said she’d like to see politicians and the police fighting for a better-designed background check system.

“But I am not an expert,” she said. “ I am just a mom.”

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Gaby Lozada
Family and friends of the victims wore orange T-shirts, the color of gun violence awareness.

Amy Innarelli, also from Manchester, said she tries to stay away from the gun debate because her family includes gun owners. However, she feels devastated and believes these tragedies impact all of society.

Innarelli’s son, Chandler, was shot and killed while sitting in his car in Manchester in 2020, according to police reports. No culprits have been found so far, and she has since founded a group, “Justice for Chandler,” to keep spreading awareness about his case.

“It has been two years and people are listening,” she said. “But nothing in my mind is happening.”

Many people in attendance said they felt defeated. Dave Breault, from Salem, asked himself why the nation couldn’t do anything about this.

“It’s crazy,” he said. “Citizens must come together to fight for the common good.”

Congressman Chris Pappas told the crowd he admired those who have turned their pain into something constructive for the community. Next week in Washington, he says he will be pushing for legislation to deal with safe storage and high-capacity magazines.

“How can we turn away from those people who were slaughtered?” Pappas said. “ We have to say enough is enough for them.”

Image from iOS (29).jpg
Gaby Lozada
The "Justice for Chander" campaign has gathered more than 11,000 followers on Facebook. It was founded to raise awareness of the death of Chandler Innarelli, who was shot and killed in Manchester in 2020.

Note: Due to an editing error, a previous version of this article incorrectly stated the date of Chandler Innarelli's death. The story was updated on June 4 to correct that information.

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