Popular and Longs communities say enough is enough to the recent - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Popular and Longs communities say enough is enough to the recent violence

LONGS, SC (WMBF) - After the recent death of a 14-year-old boy in Longs, the community is standing together to end the violence.

Community leaders told WMBF News they have to "strike while it's hot," meaning they want to reach the community while they are sadly still mourning the death of teen who was shot and killed last weekend.

Pastor JR Matthews, of Chesterfield Baptist Church, said there were hundreds at the funeral services of Taishun Dewitt, Wednesday. He said the community is hurting after what he says is a senseless violence act.

In a small circle table meeting, Thursday night the church leaders were hoping to make a big impact.

"Yes, there are some bad things that has happened but there must be a turnaround, those people that love this community and have grown up in this community I believe in my heart that they  want to do something but I don't think they know what to do," Matthews said. It's why he and other community activists, Horry County educators, his youth pastor, along with the Horry County Police Chief Saundra Rhodes, and Horry County Solicitor Jimmy Richardson met in a closed session at Chesterfield Baptist Church in Longs. They want to come up with an effective strategy plan to stop the violence.

In recent weeks, the Poplar and Longs communities have seen at least seven shooting deaths. The latest death was Taizaun Dewitt.

The teen was shot and killed at home on Collins Circle Drive in Longs last Friday; he later died at the hospital. Horry County Police arrested Rodrez Daquell Stanley, of Longs, with murder.

Matthews said, "The death of the young man the 14-year-old boy rather, we need to move forward while it's still on folks' minds, and while people are feeling, as the young  folks say, 'some type of way.'"

Community Activist Bennie Swans, Horry County School District educator Jackie Stanley, Rev. Wallace Evans Jr., Youth Pastor and Executive Director of Father's House, Horry County Police Captain Bob Carr, Chesterfield Baptist Church Pastor JR Matthews, Horry County Police Chief Saundra Rhodes, and Horry County Solicitor Jimmy Richardson were all present for the meeting.

Matthews said they want to shut down the area nightclubs, adding that there is where a lot of the violence is happening.

Other plans include a pilot program to mentor at-risk youth, which include forming a task force with local agencies to develop prevention and intervention methods for the youth.

The group also discussed utilizing mental health, counseling, and job skills resources that they can bring to parents and adults in the community.

"They're has been too much killing, too much violence, and our youth are at risk now more than ever. There has to be something done," stressed Matthews.

Matthews said the parents and the youth need to take the action that is in place to stop the violent deaths. That is also why they will host an anti-violence rally commemorating the death of 14-year-old Taizaun Dewitt.

The Popular Community of Horry County will host an Empowerment Peace Rally from 3:45 - 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 9.

Below is more information on the rally from a news release:

The Popular and Longs communities are shocked and saddened by the tragic and senseless violence that continues to plague our area. In light of the gun violence, we will come together in PEACEFUL solidarity in honor of the victims and their families and to mourn the loss of many young men in recent months.

A peace march will begin at 3:45 p.m. from Chesterfield Missionary Baptist Church, 8591 Hwy 90 Longs, SC 29568 to the Popular Ballpark next door. Chief Rhodes and Senator Hembree will address the crowd as well as mothers, fathers, and relatives who have lost loved ones to violence. We hope to empower the community to end the cycle of violence by encouraging more youth engagement, challenging the "no snitch" mentality that perpetuates crime, and promoting increased vigilance.

In partnership with the Northeastern African American Alliance and Siblings Against Violence (S.A.V.), neighborhood and church groups are rallying and praying for peace.

Please join with us and support "Break the Silence! Stop the Violence!"

For additional information please call (843) 399-6421 or (843) 424-7966.

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