March meant to address gun violence

March meant to address gun violence

Update: 10:01 pm CHAMPAIGN -- Yet another non-violence walk after a second man is murdered in less than a month.
Update: 10:01 pm
CHAMPAIGN -- Yet another non-violence walk after a second man is murdered in less than a month. More tears, more frustration and people wondering when will it end. WCIA-3's Anthony Antoine was at the rally.

Another death, another march. But what made this one different is it focused on kids. People say kids have gotten used to the shootings and that has to stop.

More than 100 people walked to remember Rakim Vineyard. The 22-year old was shot and killed Saturday. No one is feeling the loss more than his 5-year old son, and he knows why he's here.

"For my daddy," says Rakim Vineyard, Jr.

Vineyard's son will now grow up without a father; a role model so many of us depend on. Kiara Frazier is the boy's mother.

She says, "He loved his son and my son loved his daddy."

The group started the walk near Booker T. Washington Elementary School. In the crowd, men, women and dozens of young children. Betty Smith is a friend of the family.

She says, "I feel really bad for these children to get to see that, to them, this is a way of life. This is what they know. To me, it's sad we have to hope our grandchildren and things would be in prison rather than to be walking out here on the street. It seems safer."

Sean Smith owns a barbershop and a funeral home. He's watched a lot of kids grow up in this community, but he's tired of burying them.

"Rakim at my shop, at my shop everyday. You guys at my shop everyday. I don't want to go down there and bury you guys young. Have to mourn with these families and love on these families. Come on, man. We all can do better," says Smith.

Kiara Frazier is now a single mother. She says she will do everything in her power to give her son a chance at a better life.

"I'm going to try and keep him in every sport. He's going to Booker T. Washington so he can be in school because I don't want this life for him," says Frazier.

A 14-year old boy was hit in the leg by a stray bullet. He was inside his house at the time Vineyard was shot and killed. Police say someone saw what happened, but they are afraid to come forward.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers. You can remain anonymous and may earn a cash reward.

Champaign County Crime Stoppers
(217) 373 - TIPS
373tips.com
Text: CCTip + info to CRIMES (274637)
Original: 6:25 pm
CHAMPAIGN -- Violence has been tearing families apart. This weekend, another man died after a shooting. 22-year old Rakim Vineyard was killed Saturday near the intersection of Beardsley Avenue and Sixth Street. A teenager inside a home was hit by a stray bullet, but is expected to be okay. Two other homes were also hit. 

There was another report of shots fired in the neighborhood the same morning. Police are investigating if they're connected. People from the community plan to marching Monday night to send a message the violence has to stop.

For the second time this summer, gun violence has claimed a life.

"We shouldn't keep having vigils and all this," said Vineyard's aunt Akeela Davis. "This violence just really needs to stop."

"People are so quick to grab guns and shoot each other and taking everybody's life like it's nothing, like it's fair that people have to bury their family because people are grabbing guns," said Vineyard's friend, Destiny Nesbitt.  

After this weekend, Rakim Vineyard's family members, including his aunt, will watch him be buried.

"You see stuff going on," said Davis. "You never imagine that it will have to be you."

Davis has seen people make a memorial on the street where he died.

"Once all this is gone and everybody is going on with their life, I'm still going to feel the effect of never being able to see my nephew again," said Davis. "This is forever. This is for life."

His friends say his life was cut short and for no good reason.

"He died because somebody else was mad and that's not okay," said Nesbitt.  

Even though they don't know who did it, they hope to spark change.

"Tell who did it," said Davis. "Y'all going on back to try to get the person who did it. It's not going to serve no purpose. We'll be right back here. Square one, doing this all over again, making 'rest in peace' for somebody else."

Those rest in peace signs are written in chalk; something usually used by smaller hands than the ones holding guns. It's another way to see Vineyard's death has impacted a younger crowd.

"It's crazy," said Nesbitt. "It's affecting my kids, asking about him. It's affecting them younger and younger. They want to know why everybody's getting gunned down."

"I shouldn't have had to bury my nephew," said Davis. "He was only 22. He just made 22, July 8. This hurts."

Some of Vineyard's friends were in town this weekend for a funeral because of another shooting. Someone else from Champaign was killed on the 4th of July in Minnesota. They say that's just another example of how bad this problem is and why it needs to stop.

Organizers for the march against violence say it was important to bring their kids. They say younger kids are getting involved with guns so it's important to start the conversation sooner. The march started at 6 pm near Douglass Park.
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