RACINE — Dozens gathered at the 2000 block of Howe Street and the 1100 block of Grand Avenue early Sunday evening to remember the lives of Lavelle Monroe and Matthew Young, both of whom were killed in a violent manner in September.
The Racine Interfaith Coalition has hosted prayer vigils for the past 20 years, and co-president Tamerin Hayward, 70, said that there has never been two vigils on the same day.
"It's terrifying," Hayward said. "These are nice neighborhoods, there shouldn't be violence like this here."
The first vigil was in honor of Monroe, 34, who was killed in a shooting incident on Sept. 2 on Howe Street. Some of Monroe's family and friends attended, including his aunt, Linda Peet.
"Lavelle always had a smile," the 58-year-old Peet said. "You could be having a bad day and one conversation with Lavelle would have you back on your feet."
Peet recalled a time that Lavelle was hit by a car; she said that nothing slowed him down.
"He was fearless," Peet said. "Even in a full body cast, he was ready to get back outside and play again."
According to Peet, the suspect who shot Lavelle knew him and the shooting was over something meaningless.
"When you shoot somebody three times, there's never a reason," Peet said. "You can't say that it was an accident and you can't take it back; it's just senseless."
On Wednesday, police named Racine resident Joshua Morris, 30, as a suspect in Monroe’s death.
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Leading both prayer vigils was local pastor Prentiss Robbins Jr., who said there isn't a place for violence in the Racine communities.
"We can do better; we have to learn how to love one another," he said. "Back when I was a kid, there was no way anything like this would ever happen.
"As a community we need to come together and make a stand to this kind of violence."
The second vigil honored Young, who died from injuries in a stabbing incident on Sept. 4 in the 1100 block of Grand Ave. The 36-year-old was remembered by family friend Debbie Kidd, whose son was best friend's with him.
"I just knew him as a little kid since he was 11 years old," Kidd said. "He was just so quiet and this was totally unexpected; he was just a good kid.
"Nobody deserves this."
According to Kidd, the suspect who stabbed Young turned himself into the authorities on Saturday.
"I don't know exactly what happened, but I know there were difference between Matthew and this guy," Kidd said. "He was like a son to me and this hurts like hell."
Robbins concluded both vigils with a prayer, reminding those in attendance and everyone in the community to stand together in times of need.
"We cannot let things like this push our community farther apart," he said. "At the end of the day, it's about coming together like a family; we need to be there to support each other."
Hayward added on Robbins' thought: "Sometimes I have to find out where I'm going for a homicide vigil," she said. "I knew both of these places well, and I don't want this to ever happen again."
"We cannot let things like this push our community farther apart. At the end of the day, it's about coming together like a family; we need to be there to support each other."
Pastor Prentiss Robbins Jr.