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‘Wage peace,’ vigil attendees hear

January 5, 2019

LaToya Trigg, mother of slain 16-year-old Marlon Davis, wept Friday at the microphone of the City Life Center and then made a vow.

“I’m mad for Marlon, and I’m going to make a difference for Marlon,” she told the crowd.

Make A Difference, or MAD, was one of the themes at a vigil that drew about 400 people to the center on South Calhoun Street where Marlon played sports and participated in other activities.

He was shot in the back as he sat in the passenger seat of a car driven by his girlfriend, Mia Smiley, near Williams and Lafayette streets Monday afternoon. He died as Smiley pulled the car into a hospital bay, a relative at the vigil said.

Davis was the 44th homicide victim in Allen County in 2018. There are at least two more deaths in 2018 that likely will be ruled homicides by the Allen County coroner. Davis was the 34th victim of gun violence.

Anthony Greene, who coached Davis in football, called on the young people at the vigil to talk to older people who’ve been through some of the same experiences.

“In this day and age, drama is so attractive. Delete it and unfriend it,” he told them. “We are not each other’s enemy.”

Other speakers included Courtney Bowlds, a teacher at The Crossing, an alternative school, who told people to “wage peace”; Damion Chapman, Davis’ uncle; Foundation One, owner of Unity Barbershop on East Pontiac Street; and Cordell Hughes.

“I don’t want to go to a funeral home no more and cut some younger brother’s hair,” Foundation One said, adding that he had probably done that 50 times.

Pastors Josh Bleke of The Pointe Church and Geoff King of Fellowship Missionary gave prayer and Biblical meaning to the vigil.

Ephraim Smiley III choked out his message after he said he’d lost his own son, Antoine Latham, to gun violence in 2006. Often on social media, people will post that “this one hurt,” Smiley said. “That’s not true. They all hurt.”

Davis’ father, also Marlon Davis, lamented that he’d missed out on 10 years of his son’s life.

“That’s my baby. That’s all I had,” he said as family surrounded him. Later, he said he’d been incarcerated during some of that time.

Adults pleaded with younger people to stop the killing.

“I don’t need none of y’all to go out and retaliate for Marlon,” Trigg said. “Fight for your own, fight for your life, fight for your family, fight for your community.

“Ladies, carry yourself like queens,” Trigg said. “Men, carry yourself like kings.” 

jduffy@jg.net

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