Victim of Raleigh shooting mourned, praised for anti-gang work

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A community came together Monday evening to help the family of a father of three shot to death last week in Raleigh. (WTVD)

A community came together Monday evening to help the family of a father of three shot to death last week in Raleigh.

James Alston III recently called for a gang truce and was trying to turnaround his own life. Some people said Alston's murder could be retaliation for him calling for the truce.

Alston was described as a visionary at the Revelation Missionary Baptist Church in southeast Raleigh. It's a lofty title for a 23-year-old man who wanted to keep kids away from the gangs that lured him in.

Last December, ABC11 interviewed James Alston. We talked about his role in a community outreach program called "Bring Back the Village, Empowering the Community."

Now, seven months later, Alston is dead. He is shot and killed in a still unsolved shooting on Quarry Street in southeast Raleigh last Thursday night.

Monday, those who knew him celebrated his legacy.

"He was a visionary. He understood that it had to be a change in southeast Raleigh, the home he loved," said James Bunch.

Bunch and Diana Powell co-founded "Bring Back the Village." Powell recruited and mentored Alston, when the young father of three was wrapped up in a gang and behind bars at the Wake County Jail.

"[I helped] him make that transition from the gangs to becoming a productive citizen," Powell said.

By all accounts, Alston made that transition, and he was becoming a vocal community advocate.

"He was bringing together rival gangs to bring a truce, to stop the violence", explained Dennis Spivey, a legal advocate with Policy Matters NC.

Alston had made arrangements for rival Raleigh gangs to work out a truce. The meeting was set for last Friday. However, Alston wouldn't live to see it.

While no one can say for sure, some suspect his death was meant to send a message.

"It was almost like it was a situation that almost asked us not to continue," Spivey said.

However, the work goes on; mentoring more young men like Jeremiah Coble, who befriended Alston when they served time together in the jail.

"Nobody deserved to get shot like that," Coble said before walking away from our microphone. He was too hurt and frustrated to continue. He would later pledge to his mentors to continue efforts to turn his life around in part to honor Alston's life.

The group has set up a GoFundMe page at http://de.gofund.me/Jamesealston to help raise money for Alston's family. His three children now left without a father. Funeral services are set for Saturday.

Meantime, the search continues for Alston's killer. Raleigh police wants anyone with information to call Raleigh CrimeStoppers at (919) 834-HELP.

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