Kids and Gun Arrests: A Growing Concern in Dayton

Gun violence can happen anywhere at any time, including at a local park where gunshots led to panic and a teenager who was running to safety being hit by a car and died.

Christine Williams’ 15-year-old son, Adrian Williams was killed at McIntosh Park in Dayton on June 17th.

“He was 15. He was supposed to be starting his sophomore year this year,” Christine said. “Some days are more of a challenge than others.”

An incident report from Dayton Police said around 10:47 p.m. that night, gunshots were heard in the area. Witnesses at the party said people started running as cars were doing donuts in the grass at the park and that is when a car hit and killed Adrian and drove off.

“There’s still an ongoing investigation,” Christine said. “Even with me holding on to that hurt, I am still a believer in forgiving. But I just want a chapter closed to know something was done, something was closed,”

Adrian was a big brother to Marcellus Sloan.

“Having to transition from having two boys to just one now and having to meet the needs of Marcellus has been a very major challenge. Like I said, with him losing his brother, and then seven months later, he lost his best friend, it’s been challenging,” Christine said.

Sloan is 13 years old grieving the loss of two important people in his life. His mom said it is starting to impact how he acts socially.

“He’s not involved in the community anymore. He’s not involved in sports anymore. It is a part of grief, which is isolation,” Christine said.

Gun violence is having an impact on many of the youth in Dayton. In 2023, Dayton Police arrested 96 kids under the age of 18 for having a gun.

According to police data, that’s a 50% increase from 2022, when 65 kids were arrested for having a gun.

Mary Beth DeWitt, a psychologist at Dayton Children’s, said, “I think the bigger that we need to talk about too is securing firearms appropriately.”

She continued saying, “A lot of research shows that we really need to teach our kids to not touch. To find a trusted adult if they see a gun, and to let somebody know immediately.”

DeWitt has been a psychologist at Dayton Children’s for 26 years. Considering it is estimated that 22 million children live in homes with guns, according to Nationwide Children’s, parents should have their guns locked up.

“Guns should be locked. Ammunition should be stored separately from your gun at a place where the kids are not aware and those kinds of things need to really take place first,” DeWitt said.

Researchers with the CDC found that having a strong neighborhood bond could help prevent gun violence. Dayton Police has told News Center 7 in the past that their best partners are community members willing to provide information to stop dangerous crimes.

“If you know something, say something,” Christine said. Looking at McIntosh Park now, “To see that we have the protection of the wires and the tree trunks up and no one can even get in there, it does make me mad sometimes when I have to pass this part because it’s like where was this protection for Adrian that day?”

Christine hopes to have answers to who killed Adrian by May 13th, which would have been his 16th birthday.

“I’m not looking for a death penalty. I’m not looking for even a life sentence. But I just want some type of justice to be for a jury because, at the end of the day, he’s no longer here,” Christine said.