Daytona Beach residents and city leaders say they are fed up with gun violence. City Commissioner Paula Reed organized a prayer vigil on Monday night after a rash of unrelated shootings.
“We need to heal. These families need to heal because there are victims on both sides,” Reed said. “When you shoot someone, there are consequences and the greatest of that is what we’ve seen: life has been lost.”
Anthony Freeney’s younger brother, 21-year-old Jerric Harris, died Monday during a gun battle with Daytona Beach police. Daytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capri said prior to his death, Harris fatally shot his neighbor and then fired on officers during a foot pursuit.
“Jerric, you know, he’s not a bad (person), he’s not bad at all,” Harris said.
The family shared pictures of Harris who they said attended Florida A&M University, worked at a local bank and loved sports.
Bodycam video showed how police exchanged gunfire with Harris after officers said he fatally shot his neighbor, 21-year-old Jamauri Burks. Burks’ roommates declined to comment.
Freeney said his brother wouldn't hurt anyone and still can't understand why the shooting happened.
"He didn't deserve to be shot down in the streets like that. Right now, he's in a better place and I know this," he said.
City leaders, the Daytona Beach Police chief and local ministers hosted the 6 p.m. vigil Tuesday at John H. Dickerson Community Center.
Reed said she wants residents to leave the vigil with a new outlook on life.
“I hope today we walk away with more peace, more confidence in our police and just having some hope that tomorrow’s a brighter day.”