The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

February 20, 2013

Summit aims to curb youth violence

SHENANGO VALLEY — One of the Shenango Valley’s newest pastors is leading a charge to prevent any further senseless acts of violence by youth in the area.

As pastor of Valley Baptist Church in Farrell, the Rev. T. James Harrison is organizing a teen summit that will be held Saturday to bring youth and adults in the region together to talk about the issues that led to the Jan. 20 shooting death of Le’Angelo Michael Crumby Ford.

Ford, 17, was a Sharon High School sophomore who was hanging out with friends at 20 Strawbridge Ave., and wanted to see a loaded revolver that was being handled by Jontae Maurice Barnes and that ultimately fired.

Ford was shot in the chest and died in the emergency room of Sharon Regional Health System.

Barnes, 19, of 381 Liberty St., Sharon, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and third-degree murder and is being held without bail in Mercer County Jail awaiting arraignment in common pleas court.

Ford’s shooting was “senseless” Harrison said.

It raises issues involving what Shenango Valley youth do when put into a situation when a gun is present.

“This is real,” Harrison said. “This whole idea of losing someone is real. This is not TV.”

Harrison is working with the youth of the church, police, social service agencies, coaches and clergy to put together Saturday’s summit, which will feature retired NFL star Marlon Jackson, who starred at Sharon High, and Farrell native Mike Adams, who now plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Jackson and Adams will join adult presenters including Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Chief Riley Smoot, along with a panel of young people.

The focus will be on “decreasing violence,” Harrison said.

“We welcome parents to come,” he said.

The theme will be “Can you hear me now?” Harrison said.

“We want the youth to know (they) have a voice and we want (them) to use it,” he said. “It’s going to be an open discussion.”

The summit will start at noon Saturday at Valley Baptist Church, 500 Sharon-New Castle Road, Farrell. Info: 724-347-1045.

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