The violence must stop

Earlier this week, four people were shot in two separate shootings only hours apart. One is in critical condition after being airlifted to an Atlanta hospital. Two young men are dead, and the alleged shooter in their deaths was also shot and injured.

Words like “tragic” and “senseless” are being tossed around. And it is. Yet these shootings raise the question of what in the world is going on in our community. Why did this happen?

Law enforcement is working to answer the “why” question. But that is little relief to the friends and families of the victims.

What we do know is that around 1 p.m. Tuesday, Jerome “Spanky” Greir Jr. was shot multiple times on Lovelace Street and remains at Atlanta Medical Center. Around 6:45 p.m., more shots rang out on Hill Street. When it was all over, Darian Person, 23, and Marquel Williams, 31, were dead.

A suspect in the fatal shootings, Kamikie Nechez “Chez” Wilkins, 23, was found having surgery at Atlanta Medical Center by police. Wilkins also was shot, but his wounds are non life-threatening. As of this time, authorities do not have a suspect in the Lovelace shooting.

Police have not released a reason for the Lovelace shooting. Regarding the Hill Street shootings, authorities said there was some type of “altercation” between Wilkins and the deceased victims, Person and Williams.

That is the tragedy. This was, based on the information released to date, not an armed robbery, not a planned “hit” or anything like that. It was an altercation that led to guns being fired and death following.

The affected community gathered with friends and family Wednesday night for a vigil at St. Smyrna Baptist Church.

"There is no reason for retaliation, and this senseless violence must stop," said the Rev. Tamarkus Cook. “You won’t get peace holding onto a piece. You’ve got to let it go.

“Tonight is about coming together and us taking a stand against senseless loss,” Cook said. “This is not about the black community. It’s not about the east side. It’s not about the west side. This is not about gangs. This is about children.”

We agree and can only hope. The violence must stop.



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