MUNCIE, Ind. (April 19, 2016) - An 8-year-old boy who was shot in the stomach by a stray bullet in May is the new face of anti-gun violence in Muncie.
The Unity Center's new "Report" campaign features Tyler Gordon and Terry Miles, two young Muncie boys who know first hand the dangers of gun violence. The Unity Center is hoping children and teens will report when guns end up in the hands of teenagers.
“If they start reporting, it’s not snitching. Reporting is telling the truth. Tell what you saw. That’s all we’re asking you to do," said Yolanda Taylor, director of The Unity Center.
Taylor said she was impressed by one teenager who told her last week a classmate stated they had a gun.
The faces of Tyler and Terry are now on billboards across Muncie for the entire community to see, putting a face to the impact of gun violence.
“This was one of our own children, one of our youth, so we wanted to use his face to let them know, this is real," Taylor said.
Tyler is recovering, but still has scars from the shooting. The bullet is still inside his body. His family says he can feel it from time to time. The physical scars may be obvious, but the emotional scars are what keeps Tyler from playing at the park with his friends.
"I knew the Tyler before and now the Tyler after. I just want him to feel safe again," Taylor said.
Tyler's mother, Tonya Gordon says she almost lost her son over gun violence. She hopes people in the community will see Tyler's story as a message of just what can happen when people start shooting in neighborhoods.
“Violence is not the way to go. It’s hurting kids and adults. It’s hurting anybody," Gordon said. Tyler's grandmother, Bridgett Ingram, adds, “hopefully people are paying attention."
The Unity Center is hosting Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition this Thursday, April 21. Doors open at the Unity Center at 5 p.m. It's located at 515 E. 9th Street and the event starts at 5:30.
A Unity Center rally will be held on Friday, April 22 from 4-7 p.m. That event will be held at the Canan Commons located on S. Walnut St. in downtown Muncie. The rally will have live music and speakers. Guests are encouraged to create anti-gun violence signs.