A Washington D.C. father who dedicated his time to fighting gun violence in his community as a violence interruptor was shot dead as he left his anti-violence training program.
According to The Washington Post, Friday afternoon, Clarence Venable, 40, was gunned down outside of Southeast D.C. community organization The Alliance of Concerned Men where he had just started working as a violence interrupter just three weeks earlier.
The Cure the Streets program Venable worked with was launched by the District of Columbia attorney general Karl Racine in 2018 and prides itself on taking credible men in the community and training them to “de-escalate violent situations and prevent crime before it occurs.”
I’m heartbroken for the families devastated by today’s school shooting in Santa Clarita.
Our children should not have to fear classrooms or experience the trauma of these senseless tragedies.
We need common-sense reform to reduce gun violence NOW. #EnoughIsEnough
— AG Karl A. Racine (@AGKarlRacine) November 14, 2019
Venable’s former girlfriend and mother of the victim’s three children was working inside the same building when she says she heard three gunshots but says she didn’t see the gunman.
“He just sort of disappeared into thin air and Clarence was left there,” Donika Hardy, 37, told the Post. “He was just lying on the ground. All I could do was stand there and look at him.”
Rev. Anthony Motley, who had known Venable for years spoke to a group of 30 people at the organization’s offices when news of his death was announced, saying he was “one of mine.”
“He got shot in the head and three, four times in the body. They shot him in the head, then stood over him,” said Motley. But he downplayed any criticism over the effectiveness of the program. “This ain’t no game. We need to do better.”
According to an official for the Alliance said like many of the men taking part in the program, Venable, who had a troubled past, “was someone really committed to changing, really committed to transforming his life, and transforming other lives in the community, people going down the path that he once went down.”
It’s unclear if Venable was targeted because of his work or his past but Clayton Rosenberg an official with the Alliance told ABC News, in the past 30 years nothing like this has ever happened. “We understand that this happened, but we’re not going to live in fear. We have to keep doing this because we have so many people who are depending on us,” he said.
A $25,000 reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest in the homicide.