Alachua community comes together and calls for peace following shootings

The mothers of two shooting victims embrace during the Stop The Violence rally Thursday night in Alachua. Gabby Arzola/WGFL

The Alachua community turned out Thursday night to call for peace following two gang-related shootings that left one dead and five wounded.

“Let's bring these people to justice,” Gainesville Police Chief Tony Jones told the crowd that joined together at the St. Matthew Baptist Church in Alachua. "Let's bring peace back to this community."

Alachua Police are working with neighboring agencies to identify the suspects involved in a Sunday afternoon shooting that killed 27-year-old Dana Walker, Jr. and the Monday night shooting that wounded five people, including a 3-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy.

“We need to get these individuals off the street before they hurt themselves, hurt somebody else or hurt more innocent children," High Springs Police Chief Joel DeCoursey, Jr. said. "That's what really got me."

Walker's mother and the mother of a 19-year-old victim who was critically injured Monday embraced during the meeting.

“Healing is a layered process and we wanted to begin that process tonight," Bishop Adrian Weeks said.

DeCoursey said one of the ways to begin the process is for the community to help law enforcement bring the shooters to justice.

"All we ask you to do is the right thing. Snitches does not mean stitches," DeCoursey said. "Wrap your arms around the individuals who did the wrong thing, tell them you love them and 'Now you got to do the right thing.'

The church, which is located near both shootings, plans to hold prayers and vigils in the coming days.

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