'Stop the violence' rally planned in Alachua Thursday night

The mother of Dana Walker, Jr. mourns his death Monday at the Alachua park where he was killed Sunday. Hours later another shooting wounded five people. Photo: Deirnesa Jefferson/WGFL

Alachua church leaders are planning a Stop the Violence rally Thursday night following a pair of gang-related shootings that left one dead and five wounded.

The event is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at the St. Matthew Baptist Church at 15712 NW 140th Street. A flier says the event, in partnership with local law enforcement, will be a conversation about the recent violence in a city that, before this week, saw its last homicide 10 years ago.

The church is located just a stone's throw from Maude Lewis Park, where 27-year-old Dana Walker Jr. was shot to death on the basketball court during an argument, police say.

A day later, police say someone shot three adults and two children, ages 3 and 2, on a street about a block and a half away from there. Police say they believe both shootings were related to neighborhood gangs and that the second shooting was payback for the first.

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