‘Quite disturbing’: City councilwoman reacts after shots fired during peace rally, vigil held in Greensboro to stop the violence

Piedmont Triad News

GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — A call for peace and a time to remember those lost to shootings in Greensboro quickly turned into another act of violence. 

“We’re out there to talk about peace. Talk about ways to stop the violence and to have a vigil for those who have lost their lives at the hand of gun violence…then to hear those gunshots in the background is quite disturbing,” Councilwoman Sharon Hightower said.

Hightower took part in the peace rally and vigil to remember Greensboro’s recent homicide victims.

People rallied on Julian Street Thursday night at the same place where someone shot 33-year-old Keyoka Robinson and where she got hit by a car.

That’s just one mile from where someone shot and killed 14-year-old Basil Wilson earlier this week. 

“My daughter tracked his phone. My grandson never saw it coming,” said Joann Brewer, Basil’s grandmother.

Brewer says Basil was a good kid.

“I lost my son 12 years ago also to gun violence. The streets are just eating our kids up. It’s crazy. We’re hurting. We’re really hurting. We are hurting for the young kids doing it because they have no love for nobody,” she said.

It’s reasons like these that neighbors, police and city leaders gathered Thursday night.

Before the walk could start, several gun shots rang out about a block away, putting an end to the walk. 

“Gate City Coalition prepared to do the work of addressing those things in reference to violence, and they were prepared to do the walk, and I commend them 100 percent. They stepped up and answer that call. They understand that environment, but I didn’t feel comfortable letting others into that space. Many times, you say people don’t understand until you walk in their shoes…yesterday, I walked in their shoes,” Hightower said.

She says the constant violence is frustrating for her because people look to the city council for answers, and often there aren’t any answers.

She has an idea on where to start, 

“We have to start addressing those systemic issues that our underserved communities face. We also need to be working with our partners, the school systems. A lot of times, we need to catch our young people when they are less vulnerable. So we need to be working with them, our county commissioners. We need to be working with the universities. This is not just an issue that just law enforcement can solve,” Hightower said.

She tells FOX8 that although the walk didn’t happen, it was important to stand in solidarity with those families who are affected by gun violence. 

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