polo letterman jackets friends memorialize victim of Baton Rouge gun violence
Gathered Sunday evening for a memorial to honor a victim of a recent shooting, many of the mournerspleaded for an end to the gun violence in Baton Rouge that killed five people over the last week.
Morethan 50 people assembled at the Spanish Arms apartments at 4343 Denham St. to remember the life of Kendrick Bell, 28, who was fatally shot at the complex Friday evening.
“I’ve held three moms this week,” said Keon Preston, president of Stop the Violence Baton Rouge. “But you know what’s more sad? We continue to see more shooting. We got to put a stop to this.”
On Sunday, friends, family and neighbors arranged candles on the sidewalk to spell “Polo,” the nickname for the beloved Bell referring to his fondness for Polo Ralph Lauren brand clothing. They held candles, joined in song, prayer. Piled on the spot where he was killed were gifts and aposter with messages about the young father.
“(He was) always cracking jokes, talkative, laid back,” said Bell’s sister, Latoya Guss. “All he really wanted to do was take care of his son.”
Guss said her brother worked any job that could help support his 7 year old son. Friday, died at the apartment complex.
Preston said one problem is that black people people don’t get upset when there’s a shooting involving two black people, but people were protesting this summer after a white police officer shot Alton Sterling.
“What’s the difference between a white man shooting my brother and my brother shooting my brother?” Preston asked. “This moment right here is not shocking to me. Black lives must matter to black people before they matter to other people.”
Preston called on parents to “stop being your children’s friends,” and asked the entire community to look out for all young people. He also told people to leave judgment and justice in God’s hands, because revenge can be even more dangerous.
“Put your trust in Him. Don’t stress yourself out trying to seek answers that you may never get,” Preston said. “But He knows.”
Kendrick Bell’s grandmother, with whom Bell and his son had been living, supported Preston’s message that Bell’s death is part of God’s plan to change the path of someone else.