Hundreds attend Red Springs’ ‘Vigil for Peace’ in hopes to bring healing

Hundreds attend Red Springs vigil for peace in hopes to bring healing

RED SPRINGS, NC (WMBF) - With a population of 3,408, Red Springs is a little town and as tight-knit as it comes to those who know it best.

“We just come together, we have some tragedy at times, but we learn to come together in those times," Red Springs Police Chief Ronnie Patterson said. "In storms, we all reach out to one another and look out for one another, that’s the way it’s always been.”

On Thursday night, residents showed just that -- during a time of tragedy they will come together.

A series of tragic events throughout Robeson County over the last week hit home for those in the town of Red Springs.

A high-speed police chase led to a deadly accident last Monday.

On Tuesday, a police officer’s son was killed during a motorcycle accident.

Last Wednesday, police said two groups of people agreed to meet up for a fight and that led to 5-year-old, Alva “AJ” Oxendine Jr., being shot in the backseat of his mother’s car.

“I see so many demographics here and as you can see, gun violence doesn’t have a face because we’ve all be affected by it," one person said at the Vigil for Peace.

Mayor Edward Henderson read a statement from Robeson County Sheriff Burnis Wilkins which said in part, “Our county has suffered much loss over the past two weeks and many families are suffering from it. We must come together as one, stop the violence and educate our youth because they are the leaders of tomorrow.”

Those who attended the Vigil for Peace hoped that it would start the healing process for all those affected within this small community in Robeson County.

“You know the officer that was chasing the vehicle that got in a wreck and someone got killed, that took a toll on him,” Patterson said. “And when I came up on Wednesday, it really took a toll on me because when it’s a child that loses his life at 5 years old, he hasn’t even begun to live his life.”

They also hoped to raise awareness surrounding all violence so that Red Springs doesn’t see another series of tragic events as it did last week.

“You may not feel that it’s warranted, but until we can get back to the basics of loving one another, in spite of, regardless of. It doesn’t matter what our zip code is. It doesn’t matter what your education is or even if you have a title," Red Springs town commissioner Carolina Sumpter said. "We are all God’s children and every one of us hurts because guys I’m hurting. Just like the next one and I don’t want to know that pain for real but we can sympathize, we can empathize and we can get up off our can and do something about this, for real.”

Robeson County Sheriff's office is still actively investigating what led to the death of five-year-old Alva Oxendine.

If you have any information, you’re urged to contact them at 910-671-3100.

Copyright 2019 WMBF. All rights reserved.