Young people keep getting killed by gunfire because not enough people really care about what's happening, according to a dozen relatives who gathered Wednesday night to talk.
The gathering did not include the family of Ariel Morgan, the 19-year-old who was killed when gunfire broke out at a graduation party near Moncks Corner early Saturday morning. Her family was attending an event to raise money for her funeral, according to friends.
But relatives of two young people who were caught in the crossfire in Myrtle Beach May 24 were there.
Barbara Williams lost her nephew, De'vonte Herman Dantzler, 21. She said he just happened to be in the way when bullets started flying, although she hasn't been able to find out much more.
"We're not getting answers," she said at the Community Resource Center in Summerville. "Nobody is caring about us."
Williams also lost a brother, John Elliott Hancock, to gunfire about two years ago, and that crime has not been solved either. He was shot to death Oct. 3, 2012, in his mother's front yard in Summerville.
"I want justice," Williams said. "We're burying all these people, but nobody's going to jail, I'm tired of it."
The other relatives of young gunshot victims said they felt the same way.
Sandy Geddis Barnwell, 22, also was killed by the same spray of gunfire in Myrtle Beach.
"There is no healing, no moving forward, until we have some answers," said her aunt, Melody Geddis McFadden.
Sierra Denise Truesdale was shot to death July 14, 2013, celebrating her 23rd birthday in a St. George nightclub.
"I spoke to her 15 minutes before she was killed," said her mother, Tamika Myers. "Her birthday is still a nightmare. It still haunts me."
She said she's mad because not all of the killers have been arrested.
After several people had told their stories, center director Louis Smith, who organized the meeting, offered an observation.
"I'm seeing a common thread here, people with no voices," he said. "The system is not listening."
Taminika Breland, Truesdale's cousin, quickly agreed.
"They feel like we don't have a voice," she said.
When asked who she was referring to, she said she was referring to most of the community, law enforcement, elected officials, the media.
"We hurt and feel pain like everybody else," she said.
McFadden, Barnwell's aunt, agreed.
"They're forgetting about my niece that didn't commit a crime," she said. "These are not bad kids. These are not kids who committed crimes."
Smith is pushing for a community summit so elected officials and law enforcement can hear the concerns.
Meanwhile, another Stop the Violence rally is planned for June 21. More than 40 groups have signed up so far, Smith said.
The rally is set for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Wassamassaw Park in Summerville. A march will start at 1 p.m. near Baum Temple AME Zion Church at West 1st Street and Maple Street, according to brochures.
"We do this stop the violence thing every other day, it seems to me," Smith said. "I'm tired of it. We need a major cultural shift.
"Our young women are being caught in this. What has happened to our culture?"
Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.
Melody Geddis McFadden, aunt of Sandy Patrice Geddis Barnwell, speaks about her frustrations over her nieces murder as Sabrina Geddis, mother of Sandy Patrice Gedis Barnwell, sits listening. Mothers whose children were shot to death told their stories Wednesday at the Community Resource Center in Summerville.×
Tamika Myers talks about her daughter Sierra Denise Truesdale at the Community Resource Center in Summerville on Wednesday. Sierra was slain in a night club shooting and her killer that was never caught.×
Barbara Williams talks about her brother, John Elliot Hancock, and nephew, De’vonte Herman Dantzler, pictured on either side of her. The boys were killed in separate incidents of violence. Mothers whose children were shot to death told their stories Wednesday, June 11, 2014 at the Community Resource Center in Summerville.×
Melody Geddis McFadden, aunt of Sandy Patrice Geddis Barnwell, discusses her frustrations about her niece’s murder as Sabrina Geddis, mother of Sandy Patrice Geddis Barnwell, listens. Mothers whose children were shot to death told their stories Wednesday at the Community Resource Center in Summerville.×
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