Mayor organizes anti-violence march in St. Pete
ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - Mayor Rick Kriseman organized an anti-violence march in St. Petersburg on Friday evening after a spate of teen deaths.
"It can't just be one area of the city (calling for an end to violence), it can't just be one group," he said. "It can't just be city hall, it can't just be our police department."
About 200 people chanted, "No more guns in our community, education is opportunity," and, "Stop the violence, increase the peace."
The pleas come as police race to find Abrion Witcher, a suspect identified in the Dec. 15th death of Gabriel Wallace, 17.
"I hope he is arrested soon," said Wallace's grandmother, Peggy Elias.
Police are still trying to figure out who killed Tyler Lord, 17, and Lennie Acostas, 16, and hope the show of community support brings more tips.
"It's just refreshing and encouraging for the men and women who are out there working to see that we have community support," said assistant police chief Luke Williams. "We know we have that, but sometimes it's a little silent."
Indeed, Margie Senior is a former teacher who was inspired to come to the rally after hearing about the killings on the news.
"We need to rally around them and help support our police department," said Senior. (We need to) help support our city, and those that are trying to find positive solutions."
The mayor says his office will focus in 2016 on teen unemployment and tracking down illegal guns.
Too many parents have gotten knocks on the door, late at night, from a police officer with the worst possible news.
"If it was your child, your son, your daughter, would you be feeling what the families are feeling now," said ex-con and minister Eddie Pelham. "It's time to stop talking about it and be about it."
In the three open teen murder cases, police say they have been getting tips, but not enough yet to make an arrest.
There were 19 homicides in St. Petersburg in 2014 and 14 - so far - in 2015.