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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — With a wave of violence sweeping through parts of the Port City, community leaders are banding together with a unified message.

The Hillcrest Community has been the site of some of the violence. Today it became the center of peace.

Pastors from 25 area churches joined forces with the Wilmington Police Department and members of the Hillcrest Community to ask the feuding members of the Bloods gang for a 90-day cease fire. With more than 220 reports of shots fired in Wilmington since January, all involved in the rally say they are tired of the violence, and that it has to end now.

“The problem finally came that there is nowhere to run, and there’s nowhere to hide,” said Rev. James Jamison Jr., pastor of Hope Baptist Church for All Nations. “This isn’t a problem for my house or your house. This is a problem for our house. Now that it is affecting everybody, everybody is willing to come out and find their place, get in their place and hopefully stay in their place and continue this war against violence.”

“It’s going to work, because so many of the gentleman that I have spoken with are saying that they’re willing to stop,” said Rev. Lynwood Nesbitt of New Covenant Holiness Church. “They want to stop. Nobody wants to die. Nobody is going to talk publicly, but if we can identify the principle parties and sit down privately and discuss it, I guarantee everybody is willing to come to a resolve.”

Once a cease fire is in place leaders in the black community say they plan to turn attention to improving their neighborhoods and giving kids a fighting chance.

“We overlook the obvious sometimes,” Nesbitt said. “We need to get back, coach the children, sponsor tournaments, feed them, laugh and joke so they can pick father figures and we can get everyone on the right track. If we can open a center or a club, something that they can go to and take ownership and call it theirs, I guarantee the nights will be quiet.”

Police Chief Ralph Evangelous says his department will step up enforcement in the coming weeks. But he says the best way to end this problem is with the help of the entire community.

Comment on this Story

  • Meek and Humble

    Let’s “Demand” a 200 day “Cease Fire”. Let’s also demand we stop housing Drug Dealers, and Armed Criminals, in Housing Projects. Let’s also demand tax dollars stop being wasted, on paying 16 year old girls, to have as many, out-of-wedlock, children, as they can.

  • tke1

    How VERY politically correct. Looks good. Sounds good. Does little or nothing without something to back it up. If the thugs “violate the cease fire” what happens to them? Nothing more than business as usual in the hood. If the thugs were the type of people who were going to church and listening to the pastors, this would not be necessary.
    I wish them all good luck but unless there is some accountability for their actions, the thugs will be thugs will be thugs.
    Swift, sure, severe punishment and aggressive, vigorous law enforcement will get a lot more attention than all the speeches and sermons in the world. It also brings out all the whiners and dime store politician wannabes to cry racism and bias.

  • logicalcommonsense

    Yeah, we should give them a center or club that they can turn into a crack house. Look at what they’ve done to the public housing we gave them. Change starts at home. Accountability starts at home.

  • beach guy

    We need to make it illegal to be a gang member once you get linked to gang activity you are subject to arrest. why not use the racketeering laws against these folks? they have pretty much done away with the mafia and no one cried foul when they were arresting Italian Americans. no one was saying it was because of their social situation. This is the by product of organized crime folks and Until you wipe out the organization you will have the crime I can understand why the people that live there do not drop a dime these jerks do not care who they shoot it may not be the one that talks that gets it it might be a family member or a child we need to make all gang activity at any level a federal offense and then the feds can come in and do the job. the local LE guys I am sure are trying but they are probably outnumbered a thousand to one by criminals that do not care if they get caught or not and are celebrated in music and culture if they drop a cop.
    then if a cop has to shoot one of these criminals he gets investigated this is like sending some one to a war zone with one hand tied behind their back. All I’m saying is something has to change and talk is cheap.

  • Besty_Guesty

    Overpriced inane slogans notwithstanding, the image of downtown is of violence, drugs, fights, assaults, robberies, gangs, murder, etc. That will not change until downtown changes.

    Put a pig in a dress and one still has, well, a pig in a dress.

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