CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Hundreds of residents gathered at Haddad Riverfront Park on Wednesday night to stand against the increased violence affecting the area in recent weeks.

The event was organized by area ministers at the request of Deanna McKinney, who’s son Tymel was shot to death while sitting on the front porch of their West Side home.

“We decided it would be a great time to show solidarity,” said the Rev. Matthew Watts of Grace Bible Church. “Not only in support of the family, but support for the youth, teens and community in general.”

The rally began with a march in the evening rain to the park. One group began at Grace Bible Church on the West Side while another began at First Baptist Church on the East End as a sign of unity between the different areas of Charleston.

The two groups came together at the amphitheater in the park where music was provided by a joint choir composed of members from three separate churches and various speakers from the community took the stage.

Among them was Charleston police chief Brent Webster, who encouraged the community and law enforcement to continue cooperating. “Because of what I’ve done the last 20 years, I’ve seen this too often. We need to put an end to it.”

The rally was not only a show of unity against violence, but also a call to action to improve the future of Charleston and its residents.

“I believe that no one is a bad person,” Capitol High School student Jeff Roach told the crowd. “We need to take a stand and strive to show young ones of all ages that there is another route of exploring life in a positive way.”

The last speaker before a short sermon was McKinney. She thanked those who have helped her deal with the loss of Tymel, her only child. While her son will be missed, she hopes his passing will serve a greater purpose and start the movement to put an end to the violence.

“We lost one, but we are going to gain many,” she said. “My son will not die in vain.”

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  • No Mercy

    The NAACP are racist as far as I'm concerned. They only seem to care when things happen and not why they happen. All they are is a cover up act to make everyone else seem so bad. Most of the time they don't even get the facts strait before pointing fingers. They only focus so much on race that they don't take the time to figure out their own problems. Also they don't seem to realize that they, along with their people give others a legit reason to be racist. Those racist people are the ones that watch the news, read the papers, and see everything that's going on. I feel sorry for people that feel this way cause they probably lived in areas such as this or live in a good area where they don't even want to come here. Can you blame them?

  • DWL

    Going to be interesting to see how soon before the naacp starts yelling RACISTS!!!!!!

  • No Mercy

    It should tell you something when the little kid uses the word black in his poster. Seriously what good will come out of this event?? Couldn't they keep this inside instead of advertising to the rest of the city, outsiders and people driving along the streets that we have a serious problem. This probably scared some people into ever coming back here again and I personally wouldn't blame them. I used to say I was proud to be from Charleston....not anymore. This, what was once a great city is now infested. People need to get real, the problems are now too big to deal with and will never be reversed. As long as kids grow up in poverty, listen to rap music and talk in slang, this place will never be normal. Thanks to the deadbeat parents who wish to collect welfare and give the impression to their kids that it's ok not to work while other hard working families pay for their problems. Too bad they don't internet to read these posts.....oh wait they probably can on the free phones provided to them.

  • cutty77

    I've said this for years now. Bars need shut down by 1:00. Nothing good happens after that time. These people that commit these crimes have no jobs,they sleep all day,then come out late at night. They are like Rats.

    • Time for a change

      You are exactly correct. Why do people need to continue drinking at bars until 3AM? Abbreviated closing time is way overdue. In our panhandle, the Virginia bars close at 2 AM or earlier and then they all come across the line to WV and sell their drugs and fire their bullets in another market segment. It's ridiculous. Do bar owners have that much clout with our legislature?

      • Elephant in the room

        This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Please show me the evidence of how closing bars early will cut down on these shootings and the drug dealing. The vast majority of these shootings aren't alcohol and bar related. They are gang and drug related. The real solution is to actually enforce gun and drug crimes and stop these repeat offenders and thugs from running free in our streets.

  • Independent View

    Noticeably absent from the marchers and speakers were Mayor Jones, Councilman Lane and Charleston City Council.
    Maybe they were sequestered in city hall planning more strategy to disarm law-abiding citizens?

    • Elephant in the room

      There's a townhall meeting at SJMS May the 8th, I've called and e-mailed the mayor's office everyday to ask that he shows up. No response yet. I hope someone can run and kick dumb @$$ Danny out.

  • Mister X

    Harper Ferry needs to calm down! There is an old saying, if you don't have anything good to say, don't say it at all. By the way, most of the crime in the city of Charleston has been black on black crime. The news reports prove that.

  • Enoughj

    This was a good symbolic first step, however don't stop there. To stop the violence take back your streets from the thugs, walk your streets every night in mass; infiltrate the places where they hang out with crowds of people and scream at them to leave. Call the police every time they even blink. Do this night after night, never stop until they are gone. People from all over will join you to help. You live there, its yours, take it from them.

    • mntmnstan

      EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! See something,say something. Most important though is DO SOMETHING!

  • ReGal

    Gee, Harpers Ferry, that's an awful lot of energy you've spent "interpreting" the "code" of everyone here. I can't see a comment other than yours that judges the color of one's skin. Got a little bit of reverse racism going on there? I have thugs in my neighborhood, and when I use that term, I am referring to their behavior, not their color. I don't give a fig if they're purple with pink spots. I've called the police on them whether their skin is white or black. And there is a near equal amount of both. Fighting, causing disturbances, dealing drugs, brandishing weapons, throwing up gang signs, smoking pot in front of my home....those are behaviors that are thuggish and criminal in nature. Last time I checked, nobody, black or white wants to live with that in their front yard, street, neighborhood or city. Oh, and last time I checked, I'm pretty sure that "Harpers Ferry" is just as much a code name as the others on here.

    • The Truth

      Too late HF - that thud was you hitting the ground from the fall from your self appointed pedestal

  • Pickle Barrel

    And we all feel better inside now, don't we? In spite of this, the drug trafficking, shootings and thuggish behavior will continue. Charleston is becoming Little Detroit, just like Huntington.

    • Harpers Ferry

      And by using the term 'thug' you are using it as code for that word that begins with an 'N' and rhymes with 'digger'.

      Next time you want to make an ignorant comment I suggest you grow a pair and stop hiding behind code words.

      • Pickle Barrel

        HF…Hoppy used the term "thugs" in his column this morning. You going to call him a racist as well? Is he hiding behind code words?

      • Silas Lynch

        You're an idiot harpers ferry. And what is your "name" code for, armed rebellion against the federal government?

      • Another Naysayer from Harpers Ferry

        You are one of the main reasons why harmony has a difficult climb as related to bringing all ethnic groups together. You continue to pour gas on a fire or start one where no fuel exist. Buy a mirror and look at yourself. Then smash your head against the glass as punishment. John Brown did not have your kind in mind when he sacrificed himself and his followers in Harpers Ferry.

        • Pickle Barrel

          That comment is more stupid than I'm used to. It makes absolutely no sense nor has any relevance to the topic being discussed.

        • Silas Lynch

          John Brown? Too bad the young Marine Lt. that first breeched the doors of the armory still had his ceremonial sword and it failed to penetrate Brown's chest.

      • The Truth

        HF Who made you the judge of monitoring language with your do-gooder politically correct free speech stifling? If you think you are the perfect judge, then your life needs to be examined to make sure you are worthy of
        such a position.

        • ReGal

          Two words.....Internet Troll.

      • Pickle Barrel

        Sorry you're offended. I'll use the word "criminal" instead. How's that for being politically correct?

  • Johnny

    There's the problem right there. one white guy in all those pics

    • No Mercy

      totally agree

    • Harpers Ferry

      Probably because the white people were too busy cooking their meth and crushing their OxyContin inside their trailers.

      • Enough of the HF hater

        Well at least they are working for a living. Not having fatherless babies, draining the welfare coffers and hoping for sports scholarships that someone else needs to read their contract for them.

      • The Truth

        You should come down from your pedestal before you are knocked down

  • Worried in Westside

    A candlelight vidule is much more effective.

    • Tom

      Wondering what a vidule is. LOL!

  • Concerned

    Walking around Charleston did a lot of good last week.... The only change is stricter punishment for drugs and violence as well as increased raids for drugs in that area. As long as their is a drug and gang problem walking does nothing.

  • Eliminate the Catalyst which is drugs

    When you remove the catalyst of illegal drugs, it will all stop. Until then, you can expect more of the same.

  • What?

    I'm surprised no one was shot.

    • Harpers Ferry

      Scientific FACTS:

      Only non-whites commit crimes, especially violent ones.

      Only non-whites shoot and kill each other.

      Only non-whites sit on their unemployed backsides and collect welfare and then demand more.

      Only non-whites abuse drugs and alcohol.

      Only non-whites are uneducated.

      Great post! I hope that white sheet you so proudly wear keeps you warm and makes you feel superior. Stay classy!

      • Silas Lynch

        Gee there, John Brown wannabe,, am I to assume you may be a NON-WHITE?

        Heaven forbid we dare address the garbage culture that is poisoning our country that so many African-Americans prescribe to.

      • BS

        Your posts are every bit based on skin color than all others here. You sir (or madam) are a racist

        • Lots of hate being posted by HF

          I think he or she should be reported and investigated. Metronews, this poster should be reported to law enforcement as charged with a hate crime since it is obvious they have plenty of hate spewing here and should be considered dangerous.

      • Gob

        Awfully defensive today, aren't we?

    • Aaron

      While that may or may not have been a facetious remark, in reality, that very well could have happened. While it may not be common occurrence, it would not be the first time that a gang has attacked a rally.

  • Renee

    What an incredible woman! God Bless Deanna McKinney and may she have the peace that passe

    • Renee

      Passes all understanding