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Organization calls for ‘cease fire’ to violence plaguing Pee Dee communities

Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 6:09 PM EDT
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DARLINGTON, S.C. (WMBF) - Community leaders are coming up with new ideas and ways to spread the message of peace and putting a stop to the gun violence in Pee Dee communities.

Just over a month ago, Darlington County saw a string of violent crimes take place in the span of a few days

Law enforcement has since been able to gain control after a violent crime initiative took 53 suspects off the streets. And this week the Darlington County Sheriff’s Office made three arrests in three different murder cases. One of the murders took place in 2019.

“We did implement a homicide task team, and that has been a tremendous help, that is their only job is to solve homicides and violent crimes,” Sheriff James Hudson said.

Hudson said they’ve also seen the community step up and help them solve some of the violent crimes.

Pee Dee pastor Reverend Leo Woodberry is the latest person to join the fight.

Woodberry’s organization New Alpha Community Development Corporation and others will host their first Cease Fire USA rally at Keitt’s Barber and Beauty Spa on Saturday, July 17.

“We’re starting in Darlington, next month we’ll be Florence and we’re planning on going around the Pee Dee and other areas,” Woodberry said.

Woodberry said they want to meet young people where they are, so they’ll use places like barbershops, clubs and other spaces as platforms for the rallies.

Woodberry wants to see people put guns down. He’s also asking for criminals to create cease-fire zones around public places like parks, churches and other areas where people congregate.

Most of all, Woodberry wants to see others join the fight against violent crime

“We’re a small church we can’t be everywhere. What we’re doing is bringing about certain ideas like establishing cease-fire zones, normal everyday people to have vigils and prayer services,” Woodberry said.

The Cease Fire USA rally event begins Saturday at 3 p.m. at Keitt’s Barber and Beauty Spa in Darlington.

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