Former gang member hopes to help heal the hurt

By Anthony Antoine |

Published 07/21 2014 02:04PM

Updated 07/21 2014 02:11PM

CHAMPAIGN -- An area man is dead after being shot in the middle of the day. The shooting happened Saturday in the 1000-block of North Sixth Street. The victim, Rakim Vineyard, died at the hospital. WCIA-3's Anthony Antoine visited the site of a memorial to the young father.

Friends said their good-byes, but a former gang member was trying to minister to the men in the community hoping to make a change. It's a scene which is becoming all too familiar; candles, stuffed animals and three words: "Rest in Peace." 22-year old Rakim Vineyard was gunned down Saturday afternoon.

"I'm here today because I feel the pain. I know what they're going through."

An eyewitness says the shooter calmly walked down Sixth Street, Saturday, with the gun in his hand and opened fire. They say Vineyard never saw him coming.

"These kids are going through it over here. Not only here, but also on Hedge Road."

This is the second fatal shooting in less than a month. Police say a group targeted 26-year old Allen Redding.

E.V. Davis is a member of the community and says young men need to stop killing each other.

"I was one of the originators of the Gangsta Disciples around this area. When the laws and policies that were set forth by the chief and the chief executive staff, I sat right next to Larry Hoover."

He says the church saved his life but he still sees the effects of his past decisions and he's using these tragedies to teach valuable lessons.

"I'm a part of how they are. I'm a part of this and that's what hurts so bad because I'm a part of that. I helped breathe this, you know what I'm saying? It hurts because I know it took me awhile to get out of the wilderness."

To get out of the wilderness, Davis suggest mentors and more time in church for young people. Rakim Vineyard left behind two children. Davis hopes this is the last killing in his community.

"We need to stick together because, if we don't, stuff like this will continuously happen. They got to know that they can change, just like we can change."

Police haven't made any arrests. An autopsy for Vineyard is scheduled for Monday.

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.