BELLE GLADE, Fla. - Both prayer and pain can be found on the streets of Belle Glade a week after the shooting death of beloved grocery store owner Jimmy McMillan.
The 49-year-old was gunned down last Monday inside his Alabama Georgia Grocery store. Corey Graham, Jr., 19, has been arrested and charged with McMillan's murder.
Each evening this week, candles will be lit and church leaders will call on members of their congregations and community to march together. Several church groups are inviting residents to gather for vigils and march through the streets of Belle Glade to call for an end to violence.
"We really believe that God is the one who will really have to do something here to change a person's heart," said Pastor Douglas Swan of the Community United Methodist Church.
For many, McMillan's murder is serving as a turning point.
"It is awful to be in fear and have to live like that," said Brenda Williams of the New Birth Deliverance Baptist Church. "I refuse to live like that," she said. This, Williams believes, should mark the beginning of the end of the violence.
McMillan was gunned down during an armed robbery attempt that investigators said was carried out by Corey Graham, Jr., former Glades Central High School football standout. Graham remains behind bars after authorities said he confessed to the shooting. He is being held without bond.
Some questions have been answered as to who may have killed McMillan, many in the Glades communities hope it is their prayers for peace that will be answered next.
"It might be a hard process and it might be a long road to travel, but we are willing to stay the course," said Desmond Harriott of Glades Youth For Christ.
The week of Jan 9-16 has been designated a week of "Prayer and Fasting" by the religious organizations.
Here is a tentative schedule of community gatherings, vigils and marches:
January 10, 6 p.m. - Community United Methodist Church
January 11, 6 p.m. - St. John the Baptist Church
January 12, 6 p.m. - Mt. Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church
January 13, 6 p.m. - St. Paul Church of God
January 14/15, 6 p.m. - The Loading Ramp at 500 SW Avenue C Place
January 16, 6 p.m. - The Loading Ramp at 500 SW Avenue C Place
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