Oakland church resorts to prayer to end violence

Police and families of murder victims joined together in a church, to honor those killed this year.

December 31, 2010 6:36:47 PM PST
The faith community, police and families of murder victims joined together in a church, to honor those killed this year, and pray for a stop to the wave of violence.

Every year for the past four years, St. Columba Catholic Church has placed a cross on its lawn for each person killed in Oakland.

Greg Kendricks' brother Ramone had a cross here four years ago and today was the anniversary of his murder.

"New Year's Eve today four years ago, looking at these crosses just reminds me how violent it is out here. Something has got to change," he said.

"All of us working together as a community could certainly reduce the number," Father Aiden McAleenan from St. Columba Catholic Church said.

Father McAleenan's prayers were answered this year. There were 12 fewer crosses than the year before but still, there were 92 this year and that's far too many.

This ceremony on the last day of the year was to honor the victims as the crosses were removed. Among the names was Deaddrain Chapman who was only 16.

"It is time for everybody come together as one. It's got to start somewhere," the murder victim's aunt Latosha Fairley said.

Those gathered at the church want guns off the streets, because they it makes the killings easier.

"Too many guns, and too many people using guns to resolve their differences," Asst. Oakland Police Chief Chief Howard Jordan said.

When the ceremony was over, the lawn was bare again and it's how they prayed it would look every year.