WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — In Ward 4, people are processing recent gun violence through prayer.
“I think they are feeling all that confusion, frustration, anger,” said Graylan Hagler, Pastor Emeritus at Plymouth Congregation Church of Christ.
The church is one of 11 congregations participating in a 72-hour prayer session called, “Do No Harm.” Those participating are engaging in conversation, prayer, singing and strategizing in order to find solutions to gun violence.
“One thing that is clear is that the despair is great,” said Hagler. “And the amount of guns on the street parallels the despair, and that is a volatile mixture that leads to death.”
The first session started at 7 p.m. on Monday night. 16 hours later, Police Chief Robert Contee announced an arrest in the killing of 13-year-old Karon Blake.
“Cleary there is great frustration because the city was not forthcoming with the information,” said Hagler.
Blake was shot and killed on January, 7. At the time, police said a homeowner heard Blake breaking into cars on his street. The homeowner shot and killed Blake.
On Tuesday, Contee said 41-year-old Jason Lewis was charged with second-degree murder while armed. Police said Lewis turned himself in that morning.
According to court documents, video captured Lewis firing his gun, and Blake can be heard saying, “I’m a kid, I’m a kid.”
Hagler said the three-week delay in releasing information and arresting Lewis is part of the ongoing issue with addressing violence.
“We can’t address things if we are continuing to hide the truth from each other. We need to address it together,” he said.
The pastor also said there needed to be more efforts on the ground by faith leaders to work in the community and to get services to people who need them.
The 72 hours of prayer goes through Thursday night.