Residents gather at McMillan Park to pray, remember victims

Published: Mar. 21, 2013 at 11:03 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 20, 2013 at 11:03 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Many visited McMillan Park on Thursday where Wednesday night's fatal shootings occurred.

A small bouquet of flowers marks the spot where one of the victims died. Family and friends are trying to grasp what happened.

"Senseless," said Tyra Chargoies, a friend of the victims. "19, 20 years old. Two-dollar dice game."

At McMillan Park, there was grief among some who knew the young victims. They can hardly believe the violence that happened there.

"I hope the people in this world start paying attention right now to what's going on. A lot of people need to get on their knees and start praying and pray hard because we're living in our last days. I don't know if everybody can see that, but I can see that," Chargoies said.

Yet others, who may not have known the victims personally, came to the park to pray and encourage. Evangelist Ella Rankins was one of them.

"My loved one, Alexus Rankins, is gone because of the world, the foolishness, the turning away from God's heart. They've got to come. You all have got to turn to God. I wouldn't be here today if I did not know God. But I pray right now that this be a lesson learned that you all will find your way, go to church. Love the Lord," she said.

Pastor Shontill McNabb with Sound Worship Center was also at the park on Thursday.

"As a pastor in the city, I'm here to offer prayer and comfort for the family and also for the community because it's not only the family that's suffering with the loss, but it's also the entire community that has lost three wonderful young men. So, I'm here to offer prayer, love and support and anything that I can do as a local leader in the community to strengthen and encourage the people in this tragic loss," McNabb said.

The park is in Lake Charles Council member Luvertha August's district. She hopes surveillance cameras at the park will help the investigation.

"It is my hope that those cameras were working when this act was performed and if they were working, the criminals need to either surrender right now. Because if the police can identify them through the footage that they examine, and they have to come after them, it will be very hard on them," she said.

For now, community members are united in the sadness that comes when young lives are cut short.

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