Bayside church encourages kids to turn away from violence

Bayside church encourages kids to turn away from violence

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A Sunday morning shooting in Hancock County isn't sitting well with members of Bayside Baptist Church.

"We're trying to teach these young people...not only the young people, but anyone who will come in and listen and be a part of us," said Rev. Joey Gilbert. "There is another way to live life without violence without drug abuse."

Within recent months, law enforcement officers have investigated more than one shooting in Bayside. In June, a 17 year old was critically wounded while riding his bike after being shot by a fellow teenager.

Gilbert remembers it well.

"The shooting just a little over a month ago, it was actually one of our young males. He's 13 years old. His family was immediately involved in that shooting," said Gilbert.

The Bayside community was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina. More than a decade later, there's still many blighted properties, and youth leader Genetta Young says residents are still struggling.

"Really, we need some assistance because they're stressing over the economy. That's one of the things that's causing a lot of this," said Young.

Gilbert - who travels more than 400 miles from north Georgia every weekend just to pastor the church - is working with church members who live in the area to keep children off the streets.

"We do have some of the children that have come here that's involved, and know a lot of the violence that's going on. So we're using the children to send out a positive message," said Young.

The victim of Sunday's shooting told deputies a man in a silver car drove up to him on Sunflower Street, fired the shot, then disappeared. Deputies say they are looking for a silver late-model vehicle.

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