Vigil near spot where man was slain calls for love, unity

Monica Jefferson, whose son Malcolm Jefferson was fatally shot in 2013, attended a candlelight and prayer vigil Thursday night in North Charleston’s Ferndale neighborhood. The event was organized by Parents Against Gun Violence.

Zola Myers stood just a few feet Thursday night from where her son was killed March 30 in North Charleston and called for an end to the violence.

She was one of several people affected by gun violence who gathered at a candlelight and prayer vigil on James Bell Drive in Ferndale.

“We really need to stop the killing,” she said. “Nobody knows the pain that we share.”

Police say Leandra Lamont Bright, 30, of Gwinnett Street fatally shot Arthur Lee Myers during an argument on Taylor Street around 2 a.m. Wednesday. Myers died in his SUV after crashing through a wall of the U-R Nex Barber Shop building near Rivers Avenue.

A least 15 people attended the vigil, held in the paved area between the barbershop and Tires for Hire. Myers said she was thankful everyone cared enough to rally for peace after what happened to her son.

Thomas Ravenell of Parents Against Gun Violence, which organized the vigil, said he plans to hold similar events at least once a month in neighborhoods where there is frequent gunfire.

“We’re here to show love; we’re here to show unity,” he said. “It’s time for a change. We don’t want another mother to lose a child.”

There have been 10 fatal shootings and one fatal stabbing in North Charleston this year, putting the city on pace to more than double last year’s homicide total.

Ravenell, who pastors at Empowerment Missionary Baptist in North Charleston, said the purpose of the rallies is also to reach out to neighborhoods in need and young men accustomed to street violence. He was joined by other clergy and community activists, including Thomas Dixon, who plans to run against U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, Nation of Islam Minister DeAndre Muhammad and Louis Smith, co-president of the state’s chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

“The way we’re going to fix this is through gatherings like this,” Dixon said. “If we can save one life, then we’ve done what we’re supposed to do.”

Monica Jefferson, who wore a “stop the violence” T-shirt at the vigil, has been no stranger to activism since her son Malcolm Jefferson was fatally shot in 2013. His death remains unsolved.

“We just want to be able to touch everyone and have our voices be heard,” she said. “We as a community need to bring awareness to the public.”

Reach Melissa Boughton at 843-937-5594 or at Twitter.com/mboughtonPC.