Ocala families asking for help after string of shootings
OCALA, Fla. – A call was made from a police, a mayor and a community Wednesday night to end violence after shootings have left kids hurt and many with bullet holes in their homes in Ocala.
Hundreds of people gathered for a prayer vigil at the downtown Ocala Square asking for the violence to end.
"Back in the days they used to fight. It's over with. Now they fight, they come back and they want to take your life. it's ridiculous," said parent Edwina Weems.
Weems is a mother of 9-year-old twins. She was one of hundreds of people who arrived asking for prayer.
"The shootings were like feet from my home, my back door and I was on my sofa and the gunshots were so loud it woke me up instantly," said Weems.
The mother talked about the shootings that have shaken Ocala. Within the past month, a baby and his mother were shot while they slept in their home. Days later, drive-by shootings just miles away left a 4-year-old and an 8-year-old injured as they slept.
"Unfortunately, when violence is far away, it's disheartening to see, but when you see it in your own hometown and you see it with children, it leaves people with a really helpless feeling," said a father, Jeff Bailey.
Families are looking for divine intervention. Meanwhile, the Ocala Police Department said they are increasing patrols and have a taskforce.
"We know who is doing it. The issue isn't finding out who it is, the issue is being able to build our case and trying to get those witnesses to come forward," said Ocala Police Chief Greg Graham.
They said they hope this will help create courage and cut crime.
An Ocala Atheist group was protesting the vigil before it took place. They were asking for it to be canceled because a government agency helped planned it. They were unsuccessful, but did arrive to represent.
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