PETERSBURG – Ninety-one days after her 10-year-old son became the city’s youngest murder victim in more than 50 years, Carrie Friar said the hurt never goes away.
“I’m angry. My girls are angry,” Friar told people at a “Stop The Violence” rally Saturday afternoon in Petersburg. “My son was a huge part of us.”
K’Von Morgan died June 17 when a bullet pierced the wall of his bedroom at Pecan Acres Estates, striking him as he played video games with a friend. His death sent shock waves through Petersburg, but so far, no one has been arrested despite pleas from police, the community and his family for someone to come forward with information.
“We’re kind of lost without him,” Friar said in her first public comments since the shooting. “I just wish somebody would say something. I’ve lived in Kenilworth for 14 years, and I know people are outside at all hours of the night. I know that somebody’s seen something.”
K’Von, his mother said, was “always loving and extra caring.”
Pastor Belinda Baugh, who has organized the STV rally since its inception four years ago, said it was shameful that no one has come forth with information about K’Von’s shooting.
“Don’t you stand here today and tell me you did not see something, hear something, know something!” said Baugh, a well-known victim’s advocate and pastor of New Divine Worship Center. “The nosiest generation that ever lived … the most gossiping generation I’ve ever seen. You will stab each other in the back instead of supporting one another!”
On a sun-soaked afternoon in front of Third Baptist Church on Farmer Street, rally attendees gathered to eat home-cooked food, drink sweet tea and lemonade, and love on the families of murder victims from across the Tri-City area.
The highlight of the day – Baugh called it “my favorite part” — was the arrival of a parade of family members and friends. Led by a Petersburg sheriff’s escort, the parade began at Walmart on South Crater Road and wound its way through town where it was greeted with cheers and applause by rallygoers. Participants honked their horns and waved signs with photos of their lost loved ones. Leather-clad motorcyclists and a group representing a “Black Power Coalition” also took part in the parade and stood in formation at the rally bearing flags with messages.
The largest contingents of family and friends were there for K’Von and for Toni “Stinka” Knight, who was shot to death in crossfire July 2, 2022, at the ArtistSpace Lofts on Perry Street, just blocks from where the rally was held. All suspects in her death have been convicted of second-degree murder and either have been sentenced or awaiting sentence.
“It’s a life sentence for me. It’s a life sentence for anyone who has lost a loved one,” Knight’s mother, Diane Branzelle, told the crowd. “Please, please stop this unnecessary violence. It takes the lives of the whole family.”
Also there was Brionna Taylor, whose eight-year-old daughter Paris Mi-Unique Angel Moore, was killed Dec. 30, 2022, in Hopewell. She attempted to speak but was too overcome with emotion.
In addition to families, friends and community members, the rally drew both Democrat Lashrecse Aird and Republican Eric Ditri, who are vying for the 13th Senate District seat in the November election, and Kimberly Pope Adams, a Democrat who is challenging Republican incumbent Del. Kim Taylor in November’s 82nd House District election. No one from Petersburg City Council attended.
Bill Atkinson (he/him/his) is an award-winning journalist who covers breaking news, government and politics. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on X (formerly known as Twitter) at @BAtkinson_PI.
This article originally appeared on The Progress-Index: Victims’ families speak at anti-violence in Petersburg