Shooting Sharpens Focus on Crime

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The focus turned to Payton Benson across the community on Thursday as well as to the recurring cycle of violence where she was killed.

Dozens gathered at City Hall as they do every year to honor Dr. Martin Luther King but things were different this year.

Keynote speaker Othello Meadows said, “The only thing I thought about when I woke up was Payton Benson."

Meadows threw out his original speech to tailor the message around the five-year-old gunned down in her own home. He has two young sons of his own.

He said, “You want them not to walk into the world naïve and blinded but you also don't want to spoil their vision for what the world really is, which is still a wonderful place and a great time to be alive."

Meadows lives just a few blocks from the shooting.

WOWT Six News has learned from law enforcement sources that the big problem in the neighborhood appears to be linked to one home. That home is not far from where police found the shell casings after the shooting of Payton.

Last May, a 19-year-old described as a low-level gang member who had been kicked out of high school for bringing a gun, was shot in the neighborhood as he left the house. He survived but bullets sprayed other homes.

Hours later, Omaha Police arrested four teenagers. Three are currently awaiting trial and the fourth was released in October.

It's not clear if this had anything to do with Wednesday morning’s shooting.

Omaha Police tell WOWT Six News that they pay particular attention to the homes that cause problems and make it clear they are being watched.

OPD Captain Shayna Ray said, "You have to remember that at least 95 percent of the people in the neighborhood are good people and want the same for their family. Be safe when playing."

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