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Woodlawn Gangs Declare Truce After 3-Year-Old Shot On Block, Pastor Says

By Evan F. Moore | June 23, 2016 6:22am
 New Beginnings Church of Chicago pastor Corey Brooks met with 100 gang members on Tuesday to iron out a truce.
New Beginnings Church of Chicago pastor Corey Brooks met with 100 gang members on Tuesday to iron out a truce.
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DNAinfo/Evan F. Moore

WOODLAWN — When a 3-year-old boy was shot just blocks from his house this week, a well-known Chicago pastor didn't just go to Twitter to plead for help. 

He went to the streets.

Trying to slow a recent surge in violence in his Woodlawn neighborhood, Corey Brooks, the "Rooftop Pastor" from New Beginnings Church of Chicago, gathered rival gang members together to broker a truce.

"We went out into the neighborhoods and talked with some of the guys. We tried to leverage influence with those guys and pull them in," Brooks said. "We tried to meet we as many people as possible."

Brooks wrote on Twitter that roughly 100 gang members met at with him Tuesday at his church's Fellowship Hall Teen Room, located at 6620 S. King Drive, to hash out a solution to recent violence. Since the meeting, no shootings have been reported in Woodlawn, according to DNAinfo shooting data.  

Even though the Father's Day shooting of 3-year-old boy shook the community, Brooks said the violence in Woodlawn has been ongoing. 

RELATED: Neighbors Blame 'Problem Building' for Boy's Shooting

"We had everyone sit across from one another and tried to work everything out," Brooks said. "We mentioned a lot of shootings. We tried not to pinpoint people. We talked about all of the shootings."

Brooks said the conversation between members of the Gangster Disciples and the Black Disciples went as well as can be expected.

"What people have to understand is that this stuff comes from years of painful experiences. People don't know how far back the pain goes," Brooks said. "People have relatives who've been shot and killed. That has a traumatic effect on friends and family, but the community as a whole."

Brooks, who gained national fame when he spent three cold months atop an old motel in 2013 to raise money to buy it, told DNAinfo that he plans to monitor the truce in order for the people who agreed to it to be held accountable.

"We want people to try to trust the process. If we have peace throughout the summer, than it can be something that is ongoing," Brooks said. "We taking it one day at a time. Even if something does happen, were going make sure it doesn't escalate."

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