Organizers of the west side neighborhood reunion where one person was killed and three others were injured in a shooting this weekend say the violence will not deter them from their goal.
“We can’t let this stop us from doing what we’re trying to do because if we do that, then the streets take over,” said Mary Cunningham, vice president of the group that organized the Community Jamboree.
The point of the celebration — in its second year — was to honor the tight-knit neighborhood’s founding members and engage all ages, Cunningham said.
“We want to give the youth in our neighborhood a sense of history,” she said.
And it is working, said Ronnie Tisdale, president of the organizing group and great uncle to Cedric Ginger, 21, of Sheridan who died in the shooting Saturday. Tisdale said that all ages got along beautifully at the event last year and that the young people at this year’s event behaved so respectfully.
He said those who brought violence to the festivities were not from the neighborhood.
“It was like a storm blowing through,” Tisdale said, reaching for other ways to describe how random the outburst of violence seemed in the context of the positivity of the event and in a part of town that he and Cunningham described as being like a family, where everybody knows everybody else.
Also injured in the shooting and, according to police, in stable condition, with non-life threatening injuries, were: Leroy Ginger, 46, of Sheridan, father of the deceased; Kevin Ginger, 36, of Sheridan, uncle of the deceased; and Eric Briggs, 40, of Star City, no relation to the deceased.
Tisdale said he will not stand for some of the negative talk about young people that he has heard in the following days since the shooting. The young people in the neighborhood cooperated with him every step of the way. Again, reaching for a way to describe how shocking the violence had been, he said, “it was like a freak accident.”
According to a press release from the Pine Bluff Police Department spokesman Lt. David Price, police were called at about 11:26 p.m. the area of Third Avenue and Redbud Street in reference to the incident. The victims were transported to Jefferson Regional Medical Center for treatment, where Cedric Ginger was pronounced dead at 12:27 a.m.
A large group of people were present when the shooting took place, Price said. The shooting began on the northwest corner of the intersection in a grassy lot.
Police originally sought and questioned Darius Jamar Bryant, 25, about the incident, but Price said Monday that Bryant is not being considered a suspect at this time.
“We are still investigating, following up on leads and conducting interviews at this time,” Price said Monday.
The motive for the shooting is still under investigation. This was the ninth murder inside the city limits of Pine Bluff for 2014. Countywide, there have been 11 homicides so far this year.
On Monday, Tisdale, Cunningham and others were cleaning up the last remnants of the block party. A memorial service for Cedric Ginger at the shooting site had already been held on Sunday. Tisdale can now look from the home where he grew up across the street to the site where his great-nephew was killed, marked by a cluster of flowers and crosses.
One of the last remaining decorations from the party was a poster with pictures of the founding neighborhood members they had honored and another section for neighborhood members who have passed on.
Tisdale said they will be adding Cedric Ginger’s photo to the poster for next year.
Anyone who has information about this incident is asked to call the Pine Bluff Police Detective Office at 870-730-2090 or the dispatch center at 870-541-5300.
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