By Andrew Badillo, First Coast News

Faith leaders are calling on city leaders to join in on a discussion about violence in Jacksonville.

iCARE (Interfaith Coalition for Action, Reconciliation and Empowerment) is an interfaith organization and is hosting the event.

It said Jacksonville has the 23rd highest murder rate of the 75-largest cities in the country.

According to crime statistics from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, last year there were 120 murders, 15 less than 2022.

Latosha Hobbs lost her son Maurice to gun violence in 2017 and hopes city and law enforcement leaders will attend the community discussion.

The group said Jacksonville Sheriff T.K. Waters is unable to attend. The organization said State Attorney Melissa Nelson is also not able to attend, but she is sending a video message that will be played for those in attendance.

“Justice for Maurice is in the hands of Melissa Nelson and her district office. It’s important that she shows up for the community,” Latosha Hobbs said.

There have been no arrests in connection to Hobbs’ death. Latosha wears a pin or sling bag with his picture on it over her heart wherever she goes.

“I share his name. And I share his story. And that, for me is a great conversation starter for gun violence, awareness, prevention.

Hobbs says Nelson and detectives working on her son’s case have been supportive. She added it’s important for the state attorney, Sheriff Waters and the community to come together.

“Realistically speaking, we’ll never be able to actually stop gun violence. But together as a community, if we work together, we can significantly reduce it.”

The group’s community discussion will be held Monday, Feb. 26 at 6:30 p.m. at Christ the King Catholic in Arlington.

View the original story here.