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Allentown Mayor, State Representative Urge Action to Curb Gun Violence After Deadly Shootings | WDIY Local News

Scott Rodgerson

Allentown’s mayor and a local lawmaker are expressing their condolences and speaking out against gun violence after several fatal shootings in the city.

Allentown Mayor Matt Tuerk issued a statement Friday expressing his sympathies to the families of the victims.

Tuerk, who spoke at an anti-gun violence rally in Harrisburg on Thursday, reiterated his calls to crack down on illegal firearms.

He called these guns “a toxin in Allentown” and urged more legislative action, such as mandating the reporting of gun theft, improving background checks and enacting “extreme risk protection orders.”

Tuerk said the Allentown Police Department has taken over 350 guns off the streets since the beginning of 2022.

He also urged people who may be feeling “overwhelmed, stressed out, angry” to reach out to health care providers and first responders for help.

“My heart goes out to the mothers and children of those we lost and I understand the fear and frustration felt by our neighbors,” Tuerk said. “We are hurting, but I trust Allentonians to find a path to healing.”

Allentown Mayor Matt Tuerk's statement on several fatal shootings which recently occurred in the city.
Contributed photos
City of Allentown
Allentown Mayor Matt Tuerk's statement on several fatal shootings which recently occurred in the city.

State Rep. Josh Siegel – a Democrat representing the 22nd District, which includes parts of Allentown – also issued a statement expressing his condolences.

Like Tuerk, Siegel also said more needs to be done on the state level to combat gun violence.

He said the House Judiciary Committee recently held a public hearing on the matter, and Siegel voiced his support for measures including reporting lost or stolen firearms, requiring child-proof gun locks, and expanding background checks to include the sale of long guns.

He also said adequate state funding must be provided for mental health treatment, “because that often is associated with gun deaths.”

Tuerk and Siegel’s statements come in the wake of two fatal shootings in Allentown on Thursday night and Friday morning, resulting in the deaths of three people.

According to APD news releases, officers responded to the report of a shooting in the area of the 500 block of North Fourth Street on Thursday night, and found an adult male victim with gunshot wounds. The man was taken to the hospital, but later succumbed to his injuries.

Hours later on Friday morning, officers responded to another report of a shooting around the 100 block of East South Street and found two adult victims with gunshot wounds.

APD said a preliminary investigation revealed that individuals were attempting to open car doors of parked vehicles and were confronted by a resident.

Gunfire then broke out between the resident and one of the individuals resulting in fatal injuries to both people, despite officers rendering aid.

(Original air-date: 3/24/23)

Sarit "Siri" Laschinsky was WDIY's News and Public Affairs Director until 2023.
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