Sixteen gun deaths in just five months have led communities in South King County to join forces to stop the violence.

Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus says during the same time frame there have also been 48 shootings where people were hurt and nearly 100 reports of shots fired.

"It was just the culmination of what's been going on and getting in front of it before it gets any worse," said Backus.

Assistant Police Chief William Pierson says the department received information about gang battles brewing several months ago.

"This gang disagreement was beginning to escalate. We saw that with the amount of shootings and the amount of homicides that were beginning to occur. Our experience tells us this, if we don't intervene, this will get worse," said Pierson.

This week brought the announcement that mayors and law enforcement from across the county are forming the Valley Enforcement Gangs and Narcotics Task Force. The goal is to team up and tackle the gang and gun violence together.

"It's just not right, and we need to take our cities back," said Backus.