JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A St. Louis-based radio host spoke to Jefferson City High School students on Tuesday about drinking, drugs and crime.
The assembly had ended around the same time Jefferson City police arrested a sixth suspect in a Friday evening shooting on Dunklin Street. That suspect was barely one year older than many of the students who attended the presentation.
Sean Mulroney spoke to three different classes, the 1:55 p.m. presentation was to sophomores - around age 16. Four suspects in Friday's shooting were younger than 18 years old.
"You make one bad choice, usually it's sort of like a runaway train," Mulroney told ABC 17 News after the assembly. "It's another bad choice and they have to cover up for another bad choice."
Mulroney has spoken to tens of thousands of students since starting Teens for America. He said he felt compelled to help because of his own experience - and the relationships that got him out of a life of drugs and crime.
When he spoke, he focused on choices and their consequences. Mulroney started experimenting with drugs at age six and said he was a persistent user by age 13.
His presentation included stories from friends and stories of tragedy because a teenager used drugs or drank then got behind the wheel.
"You can make whatever choice you want to, but the consequence isn't really in your hands," said student Jamal Stevenson.
"It's all about being unselfish," add Kent Uhlman. "You don't want to go out there and you make a bad choice and ruin someone else's life because of your choices."
Despite Mulroney's focus on students, he added a warning for parents in Jefferson City, too.
"You need to wake up and get real and love your kids no matter where they're at, no matter what they're doing and make sure you're educated with your kids," he said.
Mulroney was joined by two other speakers and a representative from Lincoln Technical Institute in Indianapolis. The students in attendance were asked to sign a pledge to focus on education over intoxication.