After spate of killings, vigil seeks change

Recent violence inspires a gathering in West Baltimore

April 20, 2006|By NICOLE FULLER | NICOLE FULLER,SUN REPORTER

A crowd of people who didn't know Julia Kimberly Boussari came out to pray yesterday near the place in West Baltimore where she was stabbed to death two weeks ago.

At a vigil to decry a spate of recent city killings, the Rev. Willie E. Ray told the moms and their babies, the police major and the regular neighborhood folk assembled to hold hands and be still for "our sister ... and the people that were killed over the weekend."

It was a violent weekend in Baltimore. There were three killings, including the shooting Saturday night of 14-year-old Raymond Revley and the shooting Friday night of Bryant C. Jones, 42, who died at his daughter's Sweet 16 birthday party. Two have been charged in Jones' killing. No arrests have been made in Revley's killing.

So Ray, associate minister at Union Baptist Church, held a vigil yesterday afternoon. He stood at a podium in the 1200 block of Druid Hill Ave., flanked by other ministers, and Police Commissioner Leonard D. Hamm, to try to inspire change.

"We're here because of the violent weekend," Ray said. "We ain't finished yet. We hope each church in Baltimore -- black, white, synagogue -- takes over a corner."

The Rev. Dr. Arnold W. Howard and the Rev. Alvin Hathaway spoke of revitalizing partnerships between churches and the police, creating "safe houses," community centers and other service centers in neighborhoods where churches are located.

Hamm promoted the Police Department's "Get out of the Game," program, which helps drug offenders change their lives. About 268 people have been assisted since it began, he said.

Hamm also said that for changes to take place, three entities need to get along: the church, the police and the community, so it is only natural that they work together.

"What these people [the clergy] behind me understand is that we have to change the value system of our community," Hamm said.

Jacqueline Scott, eight months' pregnant, was about to attend a church dinner with her fiance, Gregory McGowens, and her son, Reginald Dobyns Jr., 8, when she stopped on the corner to pray.

"I want it to be safer around here," Scott said. She said she worries about the safety of her son and her unborn child.

"He's a good little boy," she said of her son, a third-grader at Furman L. Templeton Elementary School. "And little boys be picking on him, and it's sad. He don't mess with nobody. He gets really good grades. It's making me want to move so bad."

Terry B. Williams, off alcohol for two years on Monday, stood and listened to the declarations and promises, nodding.

"It's time for a change," said Williams, who attends Union Baptist and a recovery program it operates. "People are really tired of being scared to walk outside."

Is he?

"No, no."

Why?

" 'Cause I have faith."

nicole.fuller@baltsun.com

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