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The service was led by the Rev. Kendall McAfee, and a song was performed by Branderious Dillard. A closing prayer was given by Stephanie Dowd.
Sponsored by Brenda Cherry, president of Concerned Citizens for Racial Equality, the vigil was in a lot near the house at 435 N.E. 6th Street where police responded to a 9-1-1 call late the night of Wednesday, Oct. 9.
Among those in attendance were four members of the Paris City Council — Mayor AJ Hashmi, District 1 Councilman Aaron Jenkins, District 2 Councilwoman Sue Lancaster, and District 3 Councilman John Wright.
Several people accepted the opportunity to step to the open microphone at the end of the service to share a song, a prayer, poem, or other comment in memory of one or more of the victims.
During a reading of one remembrance, a woman had to stop several times to rein in her emotions.
The child of one of the victims came forward with a teddy bear. “It should not be this way, that a child is bringing up a teddy bear for the father. It’s supposed to be the father bringing the teddy bear to the child,” McAfee said.
McAfee thanked Maxey Funeral Home for providing a tent, and Kenny Daus for providing the sound system that enabled the hundreds to hear what was being said.
“It could have been any one of us” who was killed that night, McAfee said during the hour-long service, which began at 7:30 p.m. Candles filled the darkened sky under a full moon.
One young woman said the dead weren’t just nameless young men. She knew them all, she said. She said she had played with them, fought with them, and “went out with” one of them.
Several in the crowd wore t-shirts marked R.I.P. in memory of one of the four, showing his date of birth, date of death, and “You Will Be Missed.”
A woman said all four had spent the night in her house on occasion. She knew them and knew them well, she said.
She pleaded with the crowd, “If any of you has any information on who killed these boys — please, please share it with the Paris Police Department. We in the black community have had issues with the police in the past, but now is a time to cooperate with them and help them find who did this,” she said.
The police department said in a statement Friday morning:
“Paris police investigators are diligently working on the quadruple homicide that occurred a week ago. The investigators are still following up on leads and processing evidence. Police are still encouraging people with information that they have in connection to these murders. If you have information, you are encouraged to call Detective Leigh Foreman at 903.737.4163. If you have information, but want to remain anonymous, you can call Crime Stoppers at 903.785.TIPS (8477). you will not be asked your name, and you will not have to testify in court.”
By Charles Richards, eParisExtra
—eParisExtra Photos by Charles Richards—
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