Summerville families who lost loved ones to guns urge change

At a Stop the Violence rally in Wassamassaw Park in Summerville Sunday, with her parents John and Gloria Boone standing by, Antawon Boone talked about losing her brother, David Boone, in an unsolved shooting in 2003. Buy this photo

Three Summerville families who lost loved ones to gunfire called for an end to the violence Sunday.

About 100 people gathered in Wassamassaw Park to talk about how to keep young people from shooting each other.

The rally was organized to remember three young men who were killed.

David Boone, 21, was shot to death Nov. 3, 2003, while listening to music in his pickup truck in his parents’ driveway in Palmetto Park. Nobody has been charged.

John Elliot Hancock, 36, was shot to death Oct. 3, 2012, while sitting talking in a parked car on Lilac Street in the Robynwyn subdivision near the park. Nobody has been charged.

Don’ta Pringle, 22, of Summerville was shot to death July 4, 2013, outside a Meeting Street gas station after attending a concert in downtown Charleston. Two felons were arrested and charged with murder.

Antawon Boone, David Boone’s sister, urged everybody to get involved to stop the next death.

“Let people know God is alive and we are going to take out community back,” she said.

Barbara Williams, John Hancock’s sister, said she wants the killers brought to justice.

“Nobody who kills somebody should be able to walk around free,” she said.

Pringle’s mother, Heather Pringle, urged young men to solve their problems without guns.

“Put the guns down,” she said. “Let’s go back to the days when we were raised, if you’ve got a problem, fight, but live to see another day.”

The rally was organized by Louis Smith, leader of the Community Resource Center, who has family in Robynwyn.

“What is happening is destroying the very fabric of our families,” he said.

Pastor Thomas Dixon, who leads People United To Take Back Our Community, also spoke.

“It’s time to stop this madness,” he said. “For too long we’ve tolerated it.”

A pastor in the Pringles’ church told his story as an example of hope to youth. Elder Abraham Belanger of Refuge Bibleway Church on East 4th North Street said when he was 18, he was facing 77 years in prison on gun and drug charges, but God turned his life around.

“I did all the wrong stuff, but God had a purpose for me,” he said. “These young people are shooting each other because they don’t have a purpose.”

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553 or follow him on twitter @dmunday.

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