Lexington city, faith leaders hold prayer vigil to end violence

Lexington city, faith leaders hold prayer vigil to end violence
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 10:26 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - It was a call to action Monday night by Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton and faith leaders across the city, as gun violence continues to be a growing concern.

Twelve people have been shot this month, and three others killed. Three of the shooting victims were just 16 years old.

The vigil took place next to the Crime Victims Memorial outside the Fayette County Courthouse.

“Tonight is a time to come together. To pray for those we have lost, to pray for their families and friends. To pray for our community,” Mayor Gorton said.

Several faith leaders shared prayer and messages of gospel and Mayor Gorton called for people to join forces to put an end to the shootings.

“Lexington is a very special place because of the very special people. We need each of you to get involved,” Gorton said.

For many people at the vigil, they had a personal connection to violence. Deanna Mullins has lived in grief for five years over losing her son Sean.

“You feel the anxiety, the anger, the sadness, the fear, that you feel the night you got the call. But you feel it in a different, compassionate way for another family that’s going through the same things,” Mullins said.

So far this year, 29 families in the city have felt the same pain Mullins felt from losing someone to gun violence. She stays active in using her voice to save others.

“I came out here tonight to help support other survivors. Also to let the city know and officials know that no matter how long our loved one has been gone, we still feel the pain of every shooting that happens,” Mullins said.

For more than half an hour, leaders of different faith shared messages of support and prayer. They said this vigil was a strong first step.

“We’re starting out right tonight in prayer. Because it’s going to take the power of almighty God if we are to be successful in this effort. It’s not a short-term effort. It’s gonna take awhile. We didn’t get here overnight, and we’re not gonna get out of here overnight,” said Pastor Richard Gaines with Consolidated Baptist Church.

Of the 99 people who have been shot this year in Lexington, data from Lexington police shows arrests in just 13 of them. Sixteen of this year’s 35 remain open investigations, and all but one are shooting deaths.

Mullins is part of a group of mothers who stand against gun violence. They work with Ricardo Franklin, whose mother Anita started initiatives to raise awareness. They’re hosting a block party next Friday at the Charles Young Center. It starts at 5:00 p.m., and is in honor of what would’ve been Anita’s 60th birthday.