Updated 11/29/2010 10:48 PM
Vigil held for Rashad Walker Jr.
It is yet another vigil for a shooting victim in the City of Syracuse, but community members say the sad difference in the latest memorial is that it was for a victim who didn't even live to see his second birthday. Our Sarah Blazonis was there as community members said goodbye and searched for answers.
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- "It would've been better if they would've took me instead of him. I'd already lived 19 years of my life. He didn't even get to live two years of his life," said Rashad Walker Sr.
Rashad Walker Jr.
The life of Walker's son was cut tragically short this weekend when shots were fired into his van on Coolidge Ave., hitting Rashad Jr. as he sat in his car seat. The one-and-a-half-year-old died from his injuries and Monday night, the community gathered at the site of the murder to hold a vigil in his honor.
"It's sad to everybody. You don't have to be a relative or even live right here in this area. It's sad," said Jennifer Braxton, an organizer of the anit-violence group Yes We Will.
Those who knew him remember baby Rashad as a happy, cheerful child. Residents say they're not just mourning his loss, however, they're also mourning their sense of security in their neighborhoods.
"Now I really don't feel safe because bullets have no names and now a bullet has a two-year-old's name on it. That's crazy," said family friend and neighborhood resident Lara Spaights.
Baby Rashad's death follows a series of violent incidents in Syracuse during the past several weeks, many of which were committed by young people and leave citizens with questions.
"Why is it so easy?" asked one woman at the vigil. "Twelve on up to thirty something, you're shooting each other."
All are frustrated and say something has to be done to keep other young people from meeting the same fate as baby Rashad.
"I just want the police to pick it up," said Spaights. "We need more help. They need more help. They can't do it, there's too much going on."
"It starts at home, knowing who your kids are, what they're doing, where they're going, who they're dealing with and get involved," said Yarvon Wright, a minister with the Greater Evangelical Church of Christ.
While some want increased police presence and others want parental involvement, any solution will come too late to fulfill one mother's heartfelt wish.
"I just wish I had my son," said Kameka Alexander, baby Rashad's mother.
Syracuse Police are still investigating the death of Rashad Walker Jr.
A news conference will be held Tuesday morning to release more information about his death.