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Rogers Park Neighbors Pray for End to Recent Gun Violence

Stop the Violence
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DNAinfo/Benjamin Woodard

ROGERS PARK — Neighbors gathered Monday in the same park where Blake Lamb, 22, was shot and killed the day before — and prayed.

They are hoping for an end to the recent spate of gun violence that has rocked the neighborhood.

"I fear retaliation," said Angalia Bianca, an organizer with Rogers Park CeaseFire. "They're lost. We have to stop the violence."

On Sunday, the group announced plans to gather Monday at Willye B. White Park to mourn the death of Elliot Frazier, killed July 5, and the shooting of a 17-year-old boy Friday who survived.

Then just hours later, about 4 p.m., gun violence claimed another victim when Blake Lamb was shot dead.

"I don't cry, and I never ask God 'why'," said a woman who claimed the 22-year-old was her stepson, but wouldn't reveal her name. "God is going to take care of it."

 Clergy and community members gathered Monday at Willye B. White Park to pray for an end to recent gun violence.
Stop the Violence
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Clergy, community organizers and concerned neighbors gathered at 1610 W. Howard St., circling around the site of the most recent shooting, as Rogers Park Police Cmdr. Thomas Waldera, who increased patrols in the area, positioned a half-dozen police SUVs and several officers on bicycles within sight of the gathering.

"What this is about is not about me," said Rosa Flores, a community organizer, when she addressed the crowd. "I have four children and six grandbabies. I want them to be able to grow up and have a free shot of being able to enjoy life. It's about those children back there in the playground. That's what this is about."

One at a time, people spoke about ending the violence.

"The enemy can't come in and do anything unless he first ties up the people in the house," said Pastor Timothy Williams, referencing the gospel of Mark. "Have we allowed ourselves to be shackled to let people die, let our communities die?"

Ald. Joe Moore (49th) expressed grief about the death of Frazier, 26, the son of Wayne Frazier, a longtime aide in his office.

"I come before you with a very heavy heart," Moore said. "Wayne has been a friend of mine for over 20 years. ... Those of you who know him and know his family know they are a good family, they are a God-fearing family ... and it just makes you realize that this sort of tragedy ... can happen to anybody."

On the evening Lamb was shot and killed, neighbors danced, drank and ate in Jarvis Square, a few blocks away, at the annual Bastille Day Celebration.

Poitin Stil bartender Tony Lonien said thousands of dollars were raised there for friend Michael Davis, who was brutally beaten with a baseball bat after breaking up a bar fight in June.

"The same time we were doing that, this happened," Lonien said at the rally. "I wish they were there with us."