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Community Plots Way Forward Following Anti-Violence Rally

Reported: Apr. 30, 2014 10:43 PM EDT
Updated: Apr. 30, 2014 11:13 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Stefano DiPietrantonio) – Eyewitness News wanted to know what’s next for the West Side, after a massive rally and march downtown on Wednesday.

How people plan to take that rallying cry and keep the enthusiasm up? We talked with neighbors, to see how they felt about the latest incidents.

It's one thing to be in a huge crowd, and feel brave in that moment, but to want to make a call to police, after seeing something suspicious, without fear of retaliation, is another issue.

Everyone we spoke with agreed, the rally Wednesday night was a motivating start.

Music and prayer and a rallying cry to reunify the West Side could be heard Wednesday at Haddad Riverfront Park.

"I wasn't able to participate, but I think anything like that will help, anything that will bring the community together to help stop this violence," Kenneth Williams, said.

He said the congregation at the King of Glory International Ministries on Delaware Street is always praying for the West Side.

"We have to make the effort," Williams said.

About a block away, at the First Advent Christian Church, they too were praying.

"We pray for the community all the time, and for our leaders. That's what it's all about," Gordon Parker said. He and his wife
Melody have lived in Cross Lanes 30-some years, but faith keeps them coming to church and bible study on the West Side.

"We're sticking in the neighborhood!” Melody Parker said.

She said safety has not been an issue in her mind.

At all times, but no, it's not been an issue," she said. "I stop at the top of the ramp, of the steps, and look out over the community, and there are beautiful homes and nice neighbors."

Robert Wilmoth said he was not afraid.

“I was in Korea, '50-'51,” he said. “You find out, there's no one that can't be taken down!"

Wilmoth and his wife Lucille have been together 62 years. They're West Siders and they love it there. They said they have no problem picking up a phone if they see something suspicious.

"I'd be the first to drop a dime on them,” Wilmoth said defiantly. “I don't care if they like it or not!"

His wife said she would be brave enough to make that phone call.

“Probably,” she smiled. “If it was necessary, sure!"

"Dealing with those gangs from Detroit, the police are going to have to double down tough, because you're dealing with murderers," Robert Wilmoth said.



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