‘Stop the Violence’ prayer vigil held in Mt. Oliver

ALLEGHENY COUNTY, Pa. — On Thursday, under cloudy skies, members of the Pittsburgh community including local activists, elected officials, church leaders and police gathered at Lighthouse Church in Mt. Oliver for a Stop the Violence prayer vigil.

“Violence has taken over the whole entire Pittsburgh, but South Pittsburgh has become a serious hot spot,” said Rev. Eileen Smith with the South Pittsburgh Coalition for Peace.

Heads were bowed as the call went out to heal specific areas including East Warrington Avenue, where a teenager was shot and killed back in May.

Also on the prayer list was East Carson Street, where a handful of recent shootings and fights have disrupted the once-popular bar district.

“It’s like a little hellhole, but we can pray those demons down,” said Smith.

Hours prior to the vigil, Pittsburgh homicide detectives said innocent lives have been in the crosshairs of cold-blooded killers, including 1-year-old De’Avry Thomas, who was murdered while in his car seat downtown.

On Monday night, a 10-year-old was shot in the arm while sitting in his home on Zephyr Avenue in Sheraden.

“Is there no safe place for our kids?,” said Smith. “That’s intolerable. People are losing hope, but we are not, because we know the power of prayer.”

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