As violent crime surges across the United States, D.C. Guardian Angels director John Ayala argues community members and lawmakers must be equally held to account for tragedy and chaos.

Ayala joined “The Story” on Tuesday to share how his 11-year-old grandson was shot and killed when caught in the line of fire during a Fourth of July shooting last year. He said since then, more accidents of similar nature have been reported nonstop.

“It’s painful to hear this every single day,” he said. “I truly believe the community has to come together and make our lawmakers, our council people, our government, our judges, everybody more accountable for the actions of these people.”

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The Archangel special police chief explained that the majority of shootings that are occurring in and around the D.C. area are “retaliations” from previous acts of violence between other neighborhoods.

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“Usually it’s not gang beef; it’s neighborhood beef,” he said. “But they had a murder, someone from one neighborhood shot someone in another neighborhood, and they decide, ‘We’re not going to tell the police. We’re not going to snitch… We’re going to do street justice.’”

Ayala advocated for educating community members on the importance of reporting crime to end cyclical violence.

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“That’s the only way the police are going to be able to close cases,” he said. “When you see a crime in your neighborhood, someone gets shot – a kid, an elderly person – you have to report this to the police so the police can do their job, lock them up, prosecutors can do their job and the judges can do their job and put these guys away for good.”

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