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Community gathers to remember the lives lost to gun violence

Community members gathered Saturday afternoon to remember the victims of the recent string of gun violence in Columbia.

This comes after 6 people have been killed in five shootings in just over two weeks.

Restoration of Life Ministries held a memorial and barbecue to remember the lives lost.

One of the organizers, Wilma Blair, said this was more than a memorial. The goal is to start conversations to end the violence.

“Bullets have no eyes,” Blair said. “Sister Pat said she has a bullet in her wall, and that could have been a bullet in her, or anyone in her house. So, we are going to have to do something.”

She believes city officials, police and the community must come together to find solutions

“Stop the violence … come to the meetings, talk, not yell and scream and blame somebody,” Blair said. “Blame yourself first, ’cause that’s what I do. I see what I can do.”

Attendee Charity Martin said she doesn’t see kids waiting for the school bus in her neighborhood anymore because of the increase in crime.

“This city is living in fear, and it’s not fair to these children… It’s not fair to this city… Especially the kids being scared to go to school, sitting by the school windows, or sitting in your living room or laying in your bed… scared that a bullet is going to come flying through,” Martin said. “We’ve got to do something about this.”

Attendee Chante Wright said she attended a meeting with community members Friday night to talk about solutions for the violence in the city. “I just beg … I beg for the community to take some time out of your schedule, and let’s dialogue”

Police have made two arrests in connection with two of the recent shootings, but are still investigating and searching for other suspects.

Wright expressed the importance of talking to the police about any information about the recent shootings.

“You can’t get upset if law enforcement hasn’t solved cases, because they can’t do it without effort from everybody,” Wright said.

Columbia Police ask anyone with information about the recent shootings in Columbia to contact the department, or call CrimeStoppers at 875-TIPS to remain anonymous.


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