Loved ones hold vigil for Roy Thomas Jr, local community activists pleading for peace

NOW: Loved ones hold vigil for Roy Thomas Jr, local community activists pleading for peace

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS58) -- A vigil took place Saturday, April 24, for the 17-year-old shot dead in Sherman Park on Thursday.

Family, friends, local activists and pastors all joined hands today in honor of Roy Thomas Jr. Thomas Jr. -- also known as Kash -- who will not see his eighteenth birthday, a major milestone in a person's life. 

“It’s a devastating feeling that he’s not able to live out the best years of his life," Dameion Perkins said. He is Thomas' uncle.

Loved ones are trying to put the pieces together of how and why.

“I don’t understand how these young kids are getting these guns, I don’t understand why the first action is shoot," Perkins said.

“We should not be planning to bury him, so that’s a failure on our entire community," Reggie Moore said. He is the director of the Office of Violence Prevention. 

This week, Milwaukee police have been responding to a number of shootings. Two 14-year-old girls were shot near 34th and Burleigh around 2am Wednesday morning. One of the girls died on Thursday. A 17-year-old was at Mitchell park on Thursday.  Early Friday morning a 15 year old was shot near 36th and Vienna. Within one hour on Friday, April 24, three men were shot to death at three separate locations. A little after 11 p.m. that same night, a 36-year-old was shot and killed on the 24th and Clark Street.

“There’s a lot of things in 2020 that seem to be continuing in 2021, non-fatal shootings and homicides are two of those things," Moore said. “We think this is an opportunity especially with the amount of resources that are going to be coming from the federal government coming to the state, county and city to really invest in people.” 

Community leaders and activists are not backing down, pushing everyone to make better decisions to save lives

"If y'all know people out here that carrying guns, tell them chill don’t do that, tell them no, talk your friends down," Vaun Mayes said. He is a community activist.  

"We need to start talking about what we going live for, not what we going die for, we got enough killing and dying around us already.” said Sequanna Taylor, vice chair county board.

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