ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Residents, spiritual and community leaders gathered Wednesday night to rally against the gang violence that has hit the Pine Hills neighborhood.
“This community aches,” said Bishop Kelvin Cobaris.
Cobaris and Bishop Derrick Hutchins met with residents at New Life Church on North Powers Drive.
Hutchins said he’s held a funeral at his church every weekend for the last ten weeks -- sometimes twice a day.
“Only two of them have been coronavirus related,” he said. “The majority of them have been violence.”
The church sits only a mile-and-a-half from the site where three-year-old Daquan Felix was shot and killed on Tuesday night.
Orange County sheriff’s investigators said the shooting was part of a feud between two rival gangs -- the 438 and the Army gangs.
“Most of these people that you see here today, they have children. They have grandchildren, and whether or not they’re involved in the streets or not, as you saw last night you can be an innocent bystander in your home, and you can still be impacted by such tragedy,” said Cobaris.
One resident who chose to spoke was a former member of law enforcement.
“It has to start in the church,” he said. "We have to get back to everybody getting on their knees. Everybody praying. "
Another man was applauded for turning his life around and mentoring young children.
Cobaris and Hutchins said they’re working with law enforcement to encourage people to report things they find suspicious in their neighborhoods, but they’re also asking investigators to do more.
“When you’ve got gang violence that is taking place -- if the community is not aware of that -- they can suffer in their own homes which can be broken into and destroyed because no one told them or no one updated them of this situation of turf wars that are happening in our community that they need to be made aware of,” Cobaris said.