PALMETTO, Fla. - Chris Lukowiak is still looking for answers after Saturday's shooting at the Palmetto Youth Center.
"Obviously when something like that hits so close to home, you want to look at the children and say what are we doing wrong or not doing enough of to start saving some lives here," said Lukowiak, who is in charge of the Youth Center.
Law enforcement officials say stemming the violence on the streets starts with stepping up efforts at home. "I think we're going to struggle out here to win this fight to save our kids," said Palmetto Police Chief Rick Wells, "unless they start taking some more responsibility at the home."
Chief Wells says a lack of structure and accountability from parents can lead kids down a dangerous path. "Oddly as it sounds, a lot of children join gangs because of the discipline, because of the family environment," said Wells, "and that's sad to say but that's really why they are lured into that type of setting."
Local religious leaders say if there's one thing kids need to know how to fight, it's the allure of the streets.
"There's a lot of money out there, its a quick fix for some of their needs," said Pastor Lawrence Livingston, "but it's always the wrong choice when they choose that route."
And keeping them off that route starts with empowering parents.
"We are working with the parents in the home to try and get them more engaged as my parents did with us when we were coming along and teach them how to hold their children accountable," said Livingston.
Livingston also says getting kids involved in organized sports and activities keeps them in check and out of trouble.
"I think the biggest challenge is we have children that really have a problem realizing that they have great opportunities," said Livingston.