YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A vigil was held for the 10-year-old killed in a Wednesday morning shooting Thursday evening. The vigil was organized by the girl’s godmother in Wean Park.
Youngstown has a nickname: Crimetown USA.
It comes from a book about the mafia — a dark time in the history of the city.
Today, we live through a new dark time — retaliation violence terrorizing the streets and children are dying.
At Thursday’s vigil, people spoke about what can be done to end the city’s history of violence.
“Who can be next? Put down your guns. How many more times do we have to say this?” said mayoral candidate Amber White.
Dozens of friends, family, loved ones and strangers stood in the rain to pay respects to a life stolen too soon.
“Let her be remembered for what stopped Youngstown’s violence. No more,” White said.
At the vigil, speakers shared personal stories about how violence has plagued their lives.
“I’m a street kid. I came from the streets. My father was a dope dealer,” said Timara Harrison, a community advocate. “I used to think it was okay to tote a gun. I taught my kids to protect themselves, get you a gun. Let’s go to the range. You won’t know what’s out there. Watch your back. I taught my children that, but that wasn’t the way to teach them. I didn’t teach them to communicate, to say, you know what, it’s okay if you don’t like me.”
And what they’re doing to protect future generations from bloodshed.
“And now we have a baby that’s dead, and nobody knows who did it, and they were standing right there. It is unacceptable. We have got to take back our community,” said Samantha Turner, a city councilmember.
Speakers’ messages had similar themes: It’s time to stop the vendettas.
“Retaliating is not the answer, because you see, you not only lose a child, you lose another life going into the prison system,” said one speaker.
And how to resolve problems without guns.
“We don’t do this here. If you in the street life, you in the street life, but we don’t kill babies in this street life,” Turner said.
But the best way to break the cycle of violence is still up for discussion.
Police are searching for answers as to who committed this terrible crime.
If you have any information, you are urged to come forward and contact Youngstown Police.