UNION — More than three out of the four of those participating in an online poll conducted by The Union Daily Times support more anti-violence walks/rallies like that held in September to protest the spate of violence that left a teenager dead and another man wounded.
The “Walk against Crime … Stop the Violence” walk/rally was sponsored by Urban Achievements for Youth Education, the Action Network of Union County, and the Jonesville-based Men of Action. The groups had originally planned to hold the walk/rally in early 2013, but the acts of violence that occurred in August 2012 convinced them to change their plans and move up the demonstration.
The walk/rally was held in response to the Aug. 4, 2012 attempted murder of a Union man who was fired upon while sitting in the car in the parking lot of a local nightclub and again as he followed his attackers on the Lockhart Highway. It was also held in response to an Aug. 12 in which 17-year-old Dequan Jones was killed and a 20-year-old man wounded in the Lukesville Road area of Buffalo.
Four men — Chadrick Harold Johnson, Devonta Elemeshion Mobley and Daveus Lamonte Boler, all of Carlisle, and Danny Ray Gossett, a Union resident — are charged by the Union County Sheriff’s Office with murder, attempted murder, malicious injury and discharging a firearm into a dwelling in the Aug. 12 incident. All four are currently being held in the Union County Jail.
Four Chester men — Tevin Deonta Fair, Kiama Hason Sanders, Cedric Jamaris Brown and Najahwan Abdul Woodard — were charged by the sheriff’s office with attempted murder in the Aug. 4 incident. They were also charged with discharging a firearm at a vehicle, unlawful carrying of a handgun, simple possession of marijuana, and open container.
Fair, Sanders, and Woodard were denied bond in August while Brown granted bond in September but forbidden to return to Union County except for court and to work. He was also placed under a 6 p.m. curfew and forbidden to have any contact with the victim or the victim’s family.
Fair and Woodard pleaded guilty in January to assault and battery first-degree instead of attempted murder and to discharging a firearm into a vehicle. They were both sentenced to not more than six years in the Youth Offenders Authority with credit for time served on each count. The sentences for each charge will run concurrently.
Sanders is still in jail.
While the shootings inspired the organizers of the walk/rally to move up the date of the event, the walk/rally was a protest against all the violence that has plagued Union County. The walk/rally was designed to give the public the opportunity to show their support for the victims of crimes such as assault, home invasions, rape, child abuse, elderly abuse, bullying, and domestic violence. Organizers said they hoped to promote awareness of the problem of violence in Union County and mobilize the public to take back the community and its youth.
More than 150 people took part in the walk/rally including members of the family of Dequan Jones.
Organizers expressed the desire that the walk/rally would be only the first of many anti-violence demonstrations.
While there have been no walks/rallies against violence since September, an overwhelming majority of those who participated in an online poll conducted by The Union Daily Times support more of them being held.
Posted on The Union Daily Times website (www.uniondailytimes.com), the poll asked “The recent spate of violence in Union County led to an anti-violence walk/rally. Should more of these events be held to mobilize the public against violence in the community?”
Of the 224 readers that participated in the poll, 79 percent said yes and 21 percent said no.
This week’s online poll also addresses the issue of violence, asking “The school shooting in Connecticut has led to a debate about how best to keep our schools safe. The options proposed include allowing teachers and staff to carry guns or campus or stationing armed guards/police at the school. Which option do you favor?”
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.