Hundreds of people gathered together in the Highview Park/ Halls Hill neighborhood last night in an effort to strengthen a community wracked by the killings of two of its members.
Less of a memorial service for the men, the occasion ensured those gathered that the tight-knit community was still intact, and that the community wanted to see justice done.
"This is my hometown, and this is my family," said Louise Avery, who went to Langston Elementary School with Keefe Spriggs, the older of the two killed men. Her children grew up with Carl Moten, the other victim, she said.
"It does help," said Na'Neice Carpenter, a first cousin of Moten. She said the tragedy hit the neighborhood very hard. The candlelight vigil, shows that "we all love each other and we care for each other."
Sonja Oliver, the pastor of the Calloway United Methodist Church in the neighborhood, led the service of speeches, prayers, poetry and song. She and others prayed for the police and hoped to see justice done. Police say that they have not found suspects yet, but the investigation is continuing.
Oliver said, "We're very appreciative of all they're doing."
According to a police press release, Keefe Spriggs, 59, of Arlington, and Carl Moten, 31, of no fixed address, were found dead on Aug. 7. The bodies were discovered in an apartment in the 1900 block of N. Culpeper Street by a building maintenance worker, the release said.
At the small neighborhood park on the corner of N. Cameron Street and Lee Highway, Oliver spoke of the commitment to "one voice, one family, one community."
"I'm not sure that grieving ever ends," the pastor said, embracing the notion that feeling grief is OK. It might take five years to get over the death of one person, and by then another has died or another tragedy has occurred. This makes one angry, she said, adding, "We need to have that anger. Otherwise we'll simply drift away." Ultimately, she asked, "God, abide with us."
The Reverend Clarence Brown of the Annandale United Methodist Church hinted at that same notion.
"This right here isn't closure," but it helps, said Lakesha Nash, he mother of Moten's third child. He had six children according to those present.