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Recent shooting deaths have prompted community leaders and others to take a united stand against violence.
Several shooting victims have died, including two teenagers, and two men were shot and killed this past Saturday.
That’s why Freddie Williams, pastor of Atmosphere of Praise Church on Webb Lake Road, felt led to hold an event this weekend in effort to provide hope to victims’ families and to send a message that violence won’t be tolerated in Wilson’s streets.
“It’s really gotten crazy over the past month,” Williams said. “It’s time for us to come together to do something about the gun violence in our community, come together as a people and take a stand.”
RECENT SHOOTING DEATHS
Redmond L. Barnes Jr., 39, and 34-year-old Elliot D. Barnes, were gunned down Saturday in the 700 block of Black Creek Road. Police quickly arrested 43-year-old Shontez A. Barnes in connection to the shooting deaths.
On Aug. 26, Marquise Raheem Norfleet Anderson, 27, of Wilson, was killed after a shooting happened just across the Nash County line on London Church Road. While no arrests have been made in Anderson’s death, Nash County officials continue to investigate the case.
Earlier last month, 16-year-old Rodshawn Barnes died from an apparent gunshot wound on Aug. 6. Three Wilson teens were later charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection to the case.
On July 20, 16-year-old Luis Flores-Bravo’s life was cut short when he was shot and killed at the Speedway convenience store on Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway. No arrests have been made in that killing, but Wilson police continue to investigate the teen’s death.
‘IF YOU CARE, BE THERE’
On Sunday, organizers will hold a community-wide event, “For the Love of the City,” at 11:45 a.m. at 705 Black Creek Road SW, also known as the “schoolyard” area, beside the Midway convenience store, Williams said.
Williams said it will be similar to an outside revival. The rally will feature guest speakers, including Lenille Woodard, Williams and Angie Hall, business owner and founder of the nonprofit Hall Foundation, which sponsors numerous events for youth in the Wilson community.
Williams, who held a “Bury the Violence” rally on March 31, urges anyone who has suffered from the “senseless violence in the community” to attend, he said. He also hopes pastors, community leaders and residents will take part Sunday.
“If you care, be there,” Williams said. “We are literally trying to take our city back.”
SATURDAY’S COMMUNITY WALK
Hope Barnes, 16-year-old Rodshawn Barnes’ aunt, said she plans to hold a community walk Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m. Those who want to participate also need to meet beside the Midway convenience store on Black Creek Road in Wilson. She said folks can park in the parking lot behind the store.
Hope Barnes said she woke on a recent morning and knew she had to do something to get involved. She said the event, no matter how big or small, is an effort to get to know people in the community, speak with residents and pray with them. She also hopes those who have recently lost loved ones will come out as well.
“I’m still mourning,” Hope Barnes said. “My family is still mourning. I go to the cemetery every day. It’s my burden to put hope and life into somebody else who is going through the same thing.”