Several members of College Heights Church of Christ stood along University Drive on Tuesday evening holding up signs urging people to stop the killing in Pine Bluff.
They were responding to the recent violent crimes in the community and the latest homicides Saturday on University Drive.
Adrian Patillo, 31, of Pine Bluff, has been accused of shooting and killing Jennifer Wainwright, 34, and Marcus Thorns, 44, at Marky D’s, 1209 N. University Drive, at approximately 2 a.m. Saturday.
Mike Alexander, minister of College Heights church, said he is tired of crime in the city.
“There is just so much killing in Pine Bluff,” Alexander said. “We’re trying to raise awareness. We need to do something.”
Alexander and others hope residents will pay attention to their message and understand that killing is not the answer. They are promoting love instead of killing.
“Every life is precious,” Alexander said.
When asked his thoughts about people committing the crimes, Alexander said, “People do bad stuff. I’m more angry with the crime than the person.”
He believes the reason some commit crimes is because they had no intervention early enough.
“We have reached a few and we’re really working with our youth group,” he said.
As they held their signs up, many drivers honked and waved as they drove the rally. One motorist gave them the thumbs up.
Arnice Rogers Jr. stopped and sat with participants.
“Anything positive I’m with it,” he said. “God just led me here.”
Later, participants joined hands and took turns praying aloud. They asked God to look down on the city and comfort family and friends of victims of violence. They prayed that people would put down their guns and pick up their Bibles. They thanked God for bringing them together and asked him to stop the killing.
During the prayer, Allen Hill walked up and asked to join in. He was welcomed and joined hands with the rest of the group. Hill said he was just a customer at a nearby gas station and said he felt he needed to show his support.
“I’m all for the movement, religion or no religion it’s a positive thing they’re doing,” Hill said.
Alexander said he hopes God will bless Pine Bluff and he wishes no more lives will be taken.
Participants at the rally also included Aaron Hines, Edward Barnett, Amos Nelson, Roy Johnson, Tomekia Moore and Glenda Alexander.
This article has been corrected from its original version. Click here to view the correction notice.