The rally honored two city residents who were killed on Christmas Eve.
By AMANDA GARRETT
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Hundreds of Youngstown residents gathered Friday evening to honor those who have died violently in 2006 and to pray for less crime in 2007.
A faith-based peace rally that included local dignitaries, ministers and friends and family of crime victims took place at the intermission of a basketball game at the South Field House on Erie Street. The crowd included David Stanford, 16, and his brother Kevin Stanford, 17, who are pictured on our home page.
"We're here to start the new year with faith and not with fear," said Andrea Mahone, community youth director for Increase the Peace. "We want peace in our community."
After the final prayers were said, many of the people gathered around to hug the mother of shooting victim Quinton Floyd.
Linda J. Floyd of Youngstown remembered Quinton as a wonderful son who loved sports.
"I'm a single parent, and I was lucky that I was able to spend so much time with him," she said. "I have many wonderful memories that will stay with me throughout the years."
Quinton, 23, of West Warren Avenue, and Devonte Kelly, 14, of East Boston Avenue, were shot to death inside a home at 426 Sherwood Ave. in the early hours on Christmas Eve.
Police Chief Jimmy Hughes said city detectives are following up some very good leads and the department is working hard to solve the killings.
Floyd's death has made for a difficult holiday season, said Booker Newberry IV of Poland, who was a close a friend and mentor of Floyd's.
"It's tough when you think about Quinton because he didn't deserve to die," he said. "We've lost a lot, but he would want us to go on." Eric Franklin, 14, didn't know Floyd personally but he said he was still affected by the news.
"It's sad, because it's happening so close to where you live," said Eric, who attends Cardinal Mooney High School.
Mrs. Floyd said she hopes the rally will encourage Youngstown's young people to stay away from crime.
"If you live a life where you steal and have guns and sell drugs, you will never have any peace," she said. "A life of crime is not worth it. It's too big of a price to pay."
The city has recorded 31 homicides so far this year, four fewer than the total in 2005. The most homicides recorded in a year in Youngstown was in 1995, when 68 people were killed.