FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) — It was a full house Tuesday night as leaders in Florence County hosted a town hall on gun violence.

City council members Lethonia Barnes and Chaquez McCall and county councilman Alphonso Bradley hosted the meeting held at the Florence 1 Schools building on S. Dargan Street after getting numerous calls from the public asking about potential solutions.

After two hours, some ideas and solutions were offered, but what happened before the ideas and solutions began to flow caught some in the crowd by surprise. Pastor Parish Brown expressed frustration that barely any solutions were given even 30 minutes into the meeting.

“We need to have some real talk,” Brown said. “Coming in here saying ‘well, I’m such and such and I did,’ that’s great. But we need to do something.”

He said the area needs to rise up.

“Not the politicians, not the police officers, this community, the village,” he said. “The village that I know is capable of raising quality and women.”

Afterward, some in the crowd talked about gun violence and how it is affecting young people. Potential solutions included mentorships, crime watches and gun drop-offs to get firearms off of the streets. Others talked about their own experiences with gun violence.

“My wife and I had just got married in 2019, and we were on our way to our honeymoon and we got a call that our 19-year-old son was shot,” one person said. “Upon arrival to the hospital, we stayed there for a while and they came back and said he was dead.”

There was also a panel that consisted of Capt. George Mack and Capt. Robert Drulis of the Florence Police Department, Captain Darrin Yarborough from the Florence County Sheriff’s Office, community activist Michael Gee, Brown of Mount Rona and activist Tawan Wells of the Nubian Brothers. They answered questions and attempted to shed light on trends that they think might lead toward solutions.

“When people gather, when people participate in the community watches and meet and meet with us, the information gets passed so we can combat the problems that these neighborhoods are having and the entire city is having,” Drulis said.

Barnes said this meeting was different because people came out and signed up to help.

“We have a list of mentors now to go in our communities,” Barnes said. “We have a list that will work of the parks to plan activities. We have now a group that’s working on crime watch. Some are saying that they are going to step up and start canvassing the communities.

“It is so much that has happened tonight, and we are really, really excited, but now it’s time to put the boots on the ground and start working, and it’s not too late,” Barnes said.

Barnes said it’s not too late to become a part of the solution. Anyone who wants to help get involved should contact any member of the Florence city and county councils.