Residents Hold Prayer Service To Promote Calm in Shooting Aftermath
TROY, Ohio (AP) _ The brother of a teen-ager killed by police watched as residents held a prayer service to promote calm, but said he could not pray for the officers who shot the youth 11 times.
Troy, a city of 18,000 people some 20 miles north of Dayton, was torn by three nights of demonstrations over the death of 18-year-old Kerry Helton.
Fifty people, including Mayor Douglas Campbell, attended the prayer service Thursday at the First United Methodist Church, then walked silently to the Miami County Courthouse plaza, a block away, for another service.
″I came here to participate in a church survice until I heard something I don’t like,″ said Lamont Helton, 26, Kerry’s brother.
He jabbed his finger at the Troy Council of Churches statement calling for prayers for the officers.
″I’m not praying for them,″ he said.
″Finger-pointing and condemnation is not going to quickly settle this matter,″ the Rev. Mark Flory-Steury of the Church of the Bretheren told those attending the prayer service at the Methodist Church.
Helton was shot the night of June 9 after Officers James Fox and Steven Cruea were called to his mother’s home on the report of a fight. Police said Helton came at the officers with a knife after they kicked in a bedroom door.
A coroner’s report said Helton was legally drunk at the time.
Lamont Helton said his brother had cooperated with the officers before going to the bedroom.
A candlelight vigil Saturday night on Public Square downtown grew to a rowdy crowd Sunday night and escalated to rock- and bottle-throwing after a City Council meeting Monday night. Two dozen people were arrested, and three of them were charged with misdemeanor rioting.
People gathered downtown Tuesday and Wednesday nights, but there was no violence.
A group of citizens who met at the courthouse plaza Wednesday night demanded an investigation by the FBI and the American Civil Liberties Union. An internal police investigation is under way and a grand jury investigation is planned.
Sixteen people pleaded guilty or no contest in municipal court Thursday to traffic and disorderly conduct charges. They were fined $50 each.