NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - A New Orleans musician, shaken by the recent murder of a nine-year-old boy, wants kids to turn in their guns, for trumpets. Shamarr Allen says the program is working and he’s hoping to turn around some lives.
He’s known for his skills on the trumpet but now, musician Shamarr Allen is lending his talents in another way, trying to stop the violence that plagues New Orleans streets. He says he was motivated by the killing of nine-year-old Devante Bryant Monday night.
“I have a nine-year-old son and I grew up in that environment so I understand what those kids are going through. They aren’t bad kids, they just don’t have anything to do,” Allen said.
Days after Bryant’s murder, Allen posted a message on Instagram, simply saying, ‘Bring me a gun...I’ll give you a trumpet, no questions asked’. He explains, “For me it was important that if they gave up the gun, they didn’t get asked a million questions and interrogated which makes it easier to get the guns from them.”
Within hours, Allen says he received responses.
“It’s five kids so far and one of them is a little girl, and that’s the thing to me, it’s like, man,” Allen said.
Working with NOPD Superintendent Shaun Ferguson, Allen figured out a safe way to meet with the kids, to get the guns and hand over the trumpets. He and his friends offer free virtual lessons and a newly formed GoFundMe page is raising money to buy the trumpets.
Shamarr Allen says this is the least he can do. He hopes others will find some way to give back to their community as well.
“If everybody does their part and not turn their back or not say oh they’re just criminals, leave them over there, then you can actually help some people,” Allen explained.
He says if his idea can turn even one life around and keep one child away from violence, it’s all worth it. And maybe one of those kids he helps will follow in his footsteps, making a name for himself, on the stage.