In what must have been a terrifying moment of confusion, participants and spectators of all ages scrambled for safety when gunfire erupted at a basketball tournament at Monte Park in New Bedford on Saturday afternoon. One person was shot and suffered a non-life-threatening injury. Police say organizers ended the event early because of the incident.

As of the time of this writing, no arrests had been made, but police have issued a warrant for the arrest of a Brockton man in connection.

In two separate incidents last week, three male teenagers ages 15, 16, and 17 were arrested for possessing illegal handguns, among other things. New Bedford Police Gang and Drug Unit detectives apprehended the 15-year-old near the Temple Landing housing development because of numerous tips from Temple Landing residents. This is how it has to work.

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Whether it be the pocket parks in Ward Two, Monte Park, Temple Landing, Downtown, or anywhere else in New Bedford, residents must begin to step up and report what they see. Guns sales, drug sales, gang activity, prostitution, open drug use, incidents of open defecation, and urination have to be reported to the police.

Whether you live in Sassaquin or on the beaches, this problem belongs to everyone. The only way to make New Bedford safe again is for its residents to stand united against those who threaten that safety. It doesn't matter your color, ethnic background, religious or political beliefs, economic status, or sexuality; this is a citywide problem that requires everyone's attention.

If you know who is selling guns and where they are available, tell someone. If you know of a kid with a gun, tell someone. If you hear of a plot to commit violence, tell someone. Your silence can be deadly. The administration at New Bedford City Hall has for too long ignored the issue and has tried to pretend it does not exist. We must do this without them.

New Bedford must unite against gun violence and speak with one voice in saying that gun violence is not welcome and won't be tolerated here.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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