Groups unite for Prayer Walk to end gun violence

Groups unite for Prayer Walk to end gun violence

Greater Faith Community Church and Hip Hop Hope Mission are co-sponsoring a “Save Our City” prayer walk event Sunday “in order to eliminate the drug use and the vicious cycle that we have going on right now in our community.”

Pastor Tony Rashad Griggs of Greater Faith Community Church and Pastor John O’Neal of Hip Hop Hope Mission joined forces on the event that will be held twice on Sunday.

The first meeting will be at 4 p.m. at Bay Breeze, 800 Ave. F front office and the second location will be at 6 p.m. at 3408 Ave. F in the old movie theater parking lot across from the New Hope Church.

Each walk will open with a prayer of coverning, a scripture reading, words from Bay City Mayor Robert Nelson, BCPD, BCISD board members and a city council representative, a song of unity and a prayer walk led by community leaders to be finished by a call to action for this community.

“We are trying to get as many of our community leaders involved with this prayer walk,” O’Neal said.

O’Neal said Bay City Police Chief Robert Lister reached out to him to organize this type of an event.

A rash of “gun violence and senseless homicides” are on the rise in Bay City as city officials gathered May 7 to make a plea to the community for this type of behavior to stop.

“Instances of gun violence and senseless homicides have increased in the city of Bay City in the last 10 weeks,” said Lister.

On Feb. 28, Brock Kennedy Battle, 44, was shot and killed at his residence in the 4500 block of Mockingbird Lane.

On May 3, Desmond Dwayne Murphy, 20, was gunned down at the Bay Breeze Apartments at 800 Avenue F 

And on May 7, Tydarean Austin a.k.a. Kobe Austin, 28, was shot and killed in the parking lot at 1408 Weston.

“These shootings are not believed to be random in nature but believed to be targeted killings,” Lister said. “We do have possible suspects in these cases or officers to include several outside agencies have been working nonstop to try to solve these crimes

“We cannot do this alone,” Lister said. “We are here today asking for the cooperation of our community we know that people in the victims’ circle know what happened or what led to these shootings. These shootings could be retaliation for earlier incidents and could lead to further violence. If we don’t get help from our community this violence will likely continue.”

Each prayer walk will follow all existing COVID-19 policies as put in place by Governor Greg Abbott and participants are encouraged to wear white shirts for the event. 

“We just want to pray for a change in our community,” O’Neal said. “We just want to light a fire under this community to mobilize for a change in our community. The recent gun violence we are seeing here in the city was the catalyst for this event.”

O’Neal said he realizes that some people will not be able to come out for the prayer walks and he would ask all that are interested to go outside their homes and pray with them at the times of the two walks.

“We are asking them to join us in prayer via Facebook Live,” O’Neal said. 

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