Pastor Reaches Out to Communty to 'Stop Kill'n'
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"The murders are getting more and more closer and closer,” said Pastor Britt Pledger.
Pledger has had enough.
"People are afraid."
Enough of the killing.
“I'm just tired of it."
So from his church on Watkin Terrace, he's standing up.
"I was willing to stand up. How many other people are willing to stand up?"
But that shouldn't mean standing alone.
"You gotta stand up."
Pledger sent over a hundred e-mails to law enforcement, community groups, and most important, his neighbors. The goal, stop the trend of violence that's resulted in 28 murders in Rochester this year.
"We’ve got to stop killing. We’ve got to get away from all this violence."
Just a handful showed up; most from law enforcement, some representing local lawmakers and service agencies.
"All you guys were coming. Here's a moment in time when they could say something. And guess what? Guess where they are? Wherever..."
In a way, it's like preaching to the choir.
"Somewhat sort of, but you know what? It's okay because as long as we continue to come out and meet, it will make it better."
Police officers and prosecutors say the best way to make a difference is to stand up. Silence does no good.
"There are some who believe that since an arrest has happened, that the information they have is no longer important, because the police have learned everything, but if you can be somebody who can convey information to the prosecutor handling the case, that only helps,” said Bill Gargan, Assistant District Attorney.
"You see a crime, report a crime,” said Lt. Mark Wiater, Rochester Police Department.
"Community involvement is huge. Without community involvement, RPD can't be successful."
Pastor Pledger has been assisting families of murder victims through an effort he calls "Stop Kill'n, Start Chill'n." Tired of attending funeral after funeral, he organized today's meeting.
"Montre Bradley's funeral. A young man of character, a distinguished young man murdered over nothing."
"Larie Butler. Murdered, over something senseless."
Pledger says he'll keep organizing meetings and rallying what he calls "foot soldiers," who will do what they can to try and keep that list of names from growing.
"I'm going to do what it takes to help this community in which I live in, and that's the bottom of the line at the end of the day."