ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (WNCN)- “Stop the violence. No justice, no peace,” chanted people in Rocky Mount as they marched down East Highland Avenue Sunday evening.
“We are coming together to get our city in order. We’re taking our city back,” said Quatoshia Hill,
Hill’s nephew was murdered in 2019. She organized a community march Sunday to end violence in hopes no one has to experience what her family has.
“At some point, it has to stop. We have to unite with the police, with the city. They can’t do it by themselves,” said Hill.
The march comes after Rocky Mount police counted more than a dozen shootings so far this year.
In the last week, a bullet hit a 9-year-old in his home and two people were shot inside a local Chili’s restaurant. One of those restaurant victims died.
“Nobody wants to wake up to these calls over and over again,” said Hill.
Rocky Mount Mayor Sandy Roberson declared a state of emergency last week. The declaration will allow the department to receive access to federal and state funds and resources.
“It’s really hard just to make people stop but we can do everything we can to make sure we catch, prosecute and discourage folks from behaving in such a way,” said Roberson.
Federal agencies like the FBI and Homeland Security are now part of a task force to combat violent crime. The new Violent Crime Action Plan includes a task force of local, state and federal law enforcement.
City council member Reuben Blackwell showed up to lend his support to those marching Sunday. He said community involvement like the march are just as important as law enforcement efforts.
“Community is the answer and so we’re here to support where the answers are. I believe that the people have the ultimate of what needs to happen in their own neighborhoods and community to make it work,” said Blackwell.
Those marching understand solutions won’t come overnight. Still, Hill wants their message to be loud and clear.
“It’s our city still and we’re taking it back,” said Hill.