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People pray for peace after 6 homicides in 6 weeks in Racine including an off-duty officer's death

Posted at 10:26 PM, Jun 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-20 23:26:39-04

RACINE, Wis. — A group of Racine churches comes together to pray for peace after a violent few weeks in the city. In the last 6 weeks, 6 people have lost their lives through violence in the city.

“The last 6 weeks we had a diversity of unfortunate violent deaths. We had young people, we had older people, we had police officers,” said Pastor Prentiss Robbins, Racine Interfaith Coalition.

“It’s community members, it’s law enforcement. We are all suffering,” said Sgt. Sarah Zupke of the Racine Police Department.

The Racine Interfaith Coalition along with city council members, police officers and community members prayed for those who died recently. Those include Jose Padilla, 19, Angelica Rios, 30, Ubaldo Gonzalez, Jr., 34, Gene Smith, 35, and Tyrese West, 18, who was shot and killed by Racine Police. And Racine Police Office John Hetland who died trying to stop an armed robbery.

“People are angry and rightfully so. And people are upset,” said Robbins.

But the Interfaith Coalition says people cannot get stuck in anger.

“That’s why I am here, I want a safer community for my family moving forward,” said Jessica Diaz, Racine resident.

For many people, prayers are the first of many steps forward.

“I think all over us coming together shows we are here to support one another and I think in times like this people need support of one another,” said Zupke.

Racine Interfaith Coalition wants to start a movement of positive action. The group is asking everyone to do just one positive thing and then post about it on their Facebook page to encourage others to do the same.