KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — About 100 community members gathered in Kalamazoo Monday evening, urging a stop to the violence after the shooting death of a teen.
Pastors, city commissioners and neighbors were at the “Enough is Enough” event ran at Stockbridge United Methodist Church. Among them was the mother of Michael Day.
Thirteen-year-old Michael was shot in the chest on Memorial Day near the intersection of Lake Boulevard and Race Street in Kalamazoo’s Edison Neighborhood, not far from his family’s home. He died later at the hospital.
Crying, Michael’s mother thanked people for their response to her son’s death and for coming to Monday’s meeting. The focus of the event was on preventing the deaths of more children.
“These things are happening in our community and a lot of us are keeping silent about those things and they can’t be silent,” the pastor who both baptized and buried Day said.
Police say an ongoing dispute over Memorial Day weekend escalated to the shooting that killed Michael. Residents in the Edison Neighborhood say there has been a lot of violence there lately.
“My family is so afraid of me getting shot that I’m not allowed to leave my house. I’m not allowed to leave my yard,” one teen said.
Event organizers said its purpose was to get community members to work together to stop the violence.
“There has been too much violence, too much gang activity, too much inaction and not enough of the community stepping up just say, ‘You know what? We’re going to take back our community,'” said Keith Platte of the Urban Alliance.
Residents at the meeting said they were tired of watching people they know get killed.
They decided to host a gun buy-back to get weapons off the streets with no questions asked, beef up neighborhood block watches and start neighborhood foot patrols. There was also an emphasis on good parenting.
“If we want to stop the violence we need to take control of our kids ourselves,” one mother said.
Three people, including a 15-year-old boy, face charges in Michael’s death.