In an exceptionally violent week in Harrisburg, three people were killed, leading the victims’ families to call for solutions to curbing the bloodshed.
Davion Walker was the first victim. Police say his best friend, Maurice Belton, shot him with a gun that had been reported stolen inside a home on the 1300 block of N. 15th Street late last Sunday night.
“Maurice Belton subsequently explained that he was showing a handgun to Walker and didn’t realize that it was loaded. He pointed the gun at Walker and pulled the trigger. Walker collapsed and Belton got his mother for help,” Harrisburg police said in a news release.
Walker’s family returned to the home Monday for a vigil to honor his memory and to call for peace in the Capital City.
“I just want you kids to know, leave them damn guns alone. I’m sorry, but it is what it is. Leave them alone! You see what this has done to his mom? I’m never going to be right from this,” said Walker’s mother, Dawn Green.
Green said she doesn’t blame Belton. “I still love him,” she said. “A piece of me is gone forever. And, I’m saddened. And, I’m heartbroken.”
She was surrounded by friends and family who’ve been impacted by previous cases of gun violence.
Walker’s aunt, Theresa Mitchell, said she buried her brother, Edward Leon Green III, after he was the victim of a carjacking in York County in November.
“Too many families are being destroyed. Too many lives are being destroyed. And, this is the end result,” said Mitchell. She added her son was shot five times in 2007 but survived.
The prayer vigil was organized by members of Heeding God’s Call, a group that regularly advocates for plans to curb gun violence.
Stephen Drachler said one step the group takes is to encourage gun sellers to agree to a 10-point code of conduct aimed at ending straw purchases of guns, where a person legally buys a gun for someone who legally cannot have one. It can be viewed by clicking here.
“Once again it’s time for the violence to stop,” said Drachler.
In the days that followed Walker’s death, police say Jose Vazquez was beaten to death with a hammer Wednesday morning.
Then, early Sunday police found Matthew Dyson dead in a parking lot near an after-hours club on S. Cameron Street.
Police have made arrests in all three homicides, adding they don’t appear to be connected.
“Is this it? Is this done? Are we done now? Are you done shooting and killing each other? What are you all getting out of this? Nothing,” said Rick Banks, who went blind after he was shot in 1994. “We need something to do and something for the kids to do. Jobs, anything. These kids will take anything to do.”