Long Beach Religious Groups to Hold Vigil for Gun Violence Victims

Nearly 300 reported shootings have taken place in Long Beach so far this year, and of those shootings 28 were fatal, according to statistics provided by the Long Beach Police Department.

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On Friday, local religious and gun violence prevention groups will gather for a march and vigil in downtown Long Beach to shed light on those statistics and remember the victims.

“It’s intended to be both a time to remember those who have died and also somehow to be a time in which we scratch out a little bit of hope,” said organizer Gary Commins, a reverend at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. “To hear that there’s almost one shooting a day in Long Beach is obviously distressing to say the least and it's just a sign of the epidemic that we’re dealing with.”

The march will take place on Friday, December 11 at 4:00PM. Participants will walk from both Drake Park, 951 Maine Avenue, and The First Congregational Church, 241 Cedar Avenue, to the steps of the Deukmejian Courthouse, 275 Magnolia Avenue, at 5:00PM where a vigil will then take place.

Organizers include St. Luke's, The First Congregational Church, Greater Long Beach ICO, South Coast Interfaith Council, CLUE, Trinity Lutheran Church, the local chapter of Organizing for Action, and Long Beach Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. 

The event is part of the National Gun Violence Prevention Sabbath Weekend, during which places of worship from more various denominations will hold prayers, songs and vigils between December 10-14 to call for gun reform and an end to gun violence.

“We need to have background checks, we need to do everything we can to limit the gun violence that's out there, we need education for children,” Commins said. “Adults need to be educated to know that having a gun in your home makes you less safe rather than more safe.”

The national efforts are led by Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence, the Washington National Cathedral, States United to Prevent Gun Violence and the Newtown Foundation—which was set up after the Sandy Hook shooting on December 14, 2012.

Local participants will hold signs commemorating those fatally shot in Long Beach and beyond, such as San Bernardino, Sandy Hook, Connecticut, and Charleston, South Carolina, Commins said.

Victims this year have included Jeffrey Keo, 26, who was fatally shot allegedly by three men and one suspected 17-year-old gang member on November 10.

Tecia Yolanda Robinson was the 41-year-old victim of a murder-suicide at her Long Beach home on July 27. Authorities still do not know what caused her step-father to kill her and then turn the gun on himself.

Feras Morad, a 20-year-old Woodland Hills resident, was fatally shot by a Long Beach police officer on May 27. The soon-to-be Cal State Long Beach student was in an alley having a violent reaction to hallucinogenic mushrooms.

The most recent reported shooting in Long Beach took place on Thursday, December 10, during which a man was seriously injured.

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