ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Religious groups, city officials, and community organizations came together for a Community Day of Prayer on Saturday. The event was held in the Walmart parking lot where a mass shooting took place on June 28.
The message was clear — come together to stop the violence.
“We don’t accept nor tolerate this violence. We want to change the thought process and let people know we’re a city of love,” Bishop Gregory Wells of Victory Living Christian Faith Center said.
The event took place in the same spot where more than 50 shots were fired, taking the life of 1 and leaving 3 others injured in a shooting during an after-hours gathering, located at the Walmart parking lot on Hudson Avenue.
The group gathered in prayer produced a different scene to that of June 28. Police and city officials talked about what can be done to address the violence. Representatives from Primary Mayor election winner Malik Evan’s office were also in attendance, and talked about providing jobs for youth, but also asking the community to take a stand.
“This is what we need for the community for you to be present, at these times to show that you deserve better, the community deserves better,” Courtney Thomas, Behalf of Mayor-elect Malik Evans said.
Representatives from law enforcement talked about increasing patrols and building taskforces to find violent offenders — but the biggest thing is the community working together.
“We’re going to go out as your police department and we’re going to do everything we can to keep this city safe but we need your help, we need everyone’s help,” Rochester Police Captain Mark Mura said.
“At this point, we have to say, last week it was someone else this week it could be someone close to us lets stop this violence,” Wells said.
The groups that attended the prayer plan on holding more events throughout the summer with hopes of bringing the community together, against violence.
Another initiative to combat gun violence in Rochester was announced this week. The VIPER task force — which stands for the Violence Prevention and Elimination Response — is a new federal task force that promises an enhanced and pro-active look at gun violence in the community.
Federal officials plan to hold an open meeting with the public that will be scheduled in the coming days.