Vigil a call for peace as Durham shootings mount

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Anti-violence vigil in Durham

There's a new call for peace and unity in Durham, where there have been two murders and 14 shootings so far this year.

About 150 people gathered at a candlelight vigil Thursday calling for change.

Effie Steele is all too familiar with gun violence.

In 2007, her daughter Ebony Robinson, who was 8-months pregnant, was shot and killed. The body was left on the side of a road.

"I remember what happened and why it shouldn't have happened," Steele said. "We keep losing lives, and we don't seem to be concerned about it. It's like another day."

Forty two people were murdered in Durham in 2015. The victims were all honored at the vigil. A Durham police officer was among those in the crowd paying his respects.

The vigil came a week after city officials announced new plans to try to reduce crime. The Durham Police Department is forming a Special Operations Unit.

"It's definitely a step in the right direction anytime you can put more boots on the ground," said Clarence Birkhead from the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People. "But they have to do more than just show up. They really need to engage the community. We want them to get out of the cars, talk to the community, talk to the people and learn who they are."

"We're getting so much hurt and so many families lives destroyed that I think people are going to start waking up," Steele said. "We got to be an example. We got to pass laws that are going to protect our people and we got to hold people accountable."

There is another vigil scheduled for next month that will again address violence in the city. The 24th Annual Vigil Against Violence will be held Feb. 18, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Shepherds House Church in Durham.

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