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Emotions run high at Syracuse prayer rally honoring 3 homicide victims in 3 days

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO Public Media
A prayer rally on Syracuse's south side.

Emotions ran high at a “Stop the Violence” prayer rally on Syracuse’s south side yesterday, where in the past three days, three people have been killed in separate incidents in the area. Caroline Battle said her niece was one of the people murdered.

“She was not a part of gangs," Battle said. "She was not in the streets. She was an innocent young girl, driving someone else’s car and her life got taken. Now I have one niece going to the grave, and the other one’s mind is messed up because she witnessed her first cousin’s life be taken from her, right in front of her face. I’m mad.”

Nitch Jones said he organized the rally after the young woman was killed Monday.

"For a post on Facebook to draw the community, this says that we all want a change," Jones said. "This says we are all sick and tired of what’s going on in our city. Something that I’d seen on Facebook was that the police aren’t moving fast enough. I have to say this to our community, the police only know what we tell them.”

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh offered his condolences to the families affected and said he stands with the community.

“The police department is here, they can’t do it themselves," Walsh said. "The government is here, we can’t do it ourselves. The community is here, you can’t do it yourselves. But together, we can do it and we will do it.”

The Syracuse Police Department said they are not aware of anything that would connect these homicides. Police Chief Frank Fowler said he knows the hurt and pain that families go through.

“I’ve spent nine years, standing in the trenches," Fowler said. "I’m the guy that gets up in the wee hours of the morning, to go up to the hospital, to look into the eyes of those crying mothers. I’m that guy. But listen, just like the folks said here tonight, the police cannot do it alone.”

Fowler said anyone with information on the homicides can anonymously contact police online or through the department's smartphone app.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.