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NEW INFO: Hundreds March To End Violence in Charleston

By: Cathleen Moxley; Michael Clouse Email
By: Cathleen Moxley; Michael Clouse Email
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UPDATE 4/30/14 @ 11:17 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- They came armed with raincoats and umbrellas to battle the weather, but with full hearts to end the war raging through Charleston's streets.

With each step, two sides, east and west, came together as one.

"I want peace in our city," said Erin Coffman, "show unity to stop the violence with our youth."

With her own 10-year-old son by her side, Coffman joined the ranks of hundreds of others at Haddad Riverfront Park Wednesday.

They were all taking part in the Guns Down, Hands Up To Pray rally that had one goal.

"Letting people know that, 'Hey, we're not going to take this anymore. We're going to stand up and fight for our community,'" said David Knox.

The night consisted of singing, prayer, and reflection, as well as words of wisdom from city leaders on how to stop the bloodshed.

"We need to, especially with young people, work towards conflict resolution," Charleston Police Chief Brent Webster said.

That's an age group everyone agrees needs to be the focus.

"We need to educate our children," said the Rev. James Jackson. "We need to spend a little more time with them and stop it before they get into their teenage years."

A town facing adversity, choosing to tackle trouble head on, refusing to back down.



UPDATE 4/30/14 @ 8:30 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A large group is expected to participate in a march that will call for an end to violence in Charleston.

The march is called "Guns Down, Hands Up to Pray."

Participants can meet at two different locations and then they will unite at Haddad Riverfront Park along Kanawha Boulevard. Organizers say they think this is an important event to "unite to fight for change" and end the recent violence spike on the west side.

Tymel McKinney, is one of the victims of the recent crime. He's the 18 year old who was shot and killed at a home last week on Sixth Street.

His mom, Deanna McKinney tells WSAZ.com she's starting this movement to try to prevent something like this from happening again. In fact she's inviting everyone to attend, even the families of those responsible for Tymel's murder.

"I don't hold any animosity. I don't hold any anger. I don't have no judgement. I'm not God. I can't judge nobody. Only thing I can do is pray for them, as well, and I hope they join me at the march also," McKinney said. "I have no problem hugging them and letting them know it's gonna be alright, because we are gonna get through this as a community and together."

If you would like to take part you can either meet at Grace Bible Church at 1515 Kanawha Boulevard on the east end or First Baptist Church at 432 Shrewsbury Street on the west side at 5 p.m. The march Haddad Riverfront Park will begin about 5:30 p.m. Then, a rally will take place at 6 p.m. at Haddad Riverfront Park.

No streets will be closed during this time, but drivers in the area should use caution.

WSAZ will be at the event. Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY 4/29/14 @ 6:29 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The mother of a teenager who was shot and killed in Charleston last week says she's not seeking revenge or even justice. All she truly wants is for the violence to stop.

Tymel McKinney who was just 18 years old was shot to death on his front porch while eating pizza.

Three arrests have been made in connection with the shooting and police say it was gang related.

The last thing Tymel's mother, Deanna McKinney wants is for her son's death to become just another statistic. She says she refuses to let him die in vain.

WSAZ spoke with her Tuesday afternoon on that very porch where Tymel was killed. She's starting a movement to try to prevent something like this from happening again.

It starts Wednesday with a march and rally called "Guns Down, Hands up to Pray."

She's inviting everyone to attend, even the families of those responsible for Tymel's death.

"I don't hold any animosity. I don't hold any anger. I don't have no judgement. I'm not God. I can't judge nobody. Only thing I can do is pray for them, as well, and I hope they join me at the march also," McKinney said. "I have no problem hugging them and letting them know it's gonna be alright, because we are gonna get through this as a community and together."

McKinney has no plans on stopping after this rally. She says she'd like to see people meet up at least every other week to talk about what can be done to stop violence.

Participants can meet at both Grace Bible Church on the West Side and First Baptist Church on the East Side at 5 p.m. Wednesday. The march to Haddad Riverfront Park will begin about 5:30 p.m., with the rally at Haddad set to begin at 6 p.m.


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