Praying to end violence in Peoria

By Audrey Williams

June 22, 2012 Updated Jun 22, 2012 at 6:29 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill -- After a week filled with pleas to stop gun violence from police and victims' families, Friday there is a new approach. Lawmakers and members of the clergy are praying for a change.

Peoria lost another life to gun violence Monday morning after 23-year-old Robreco King was gunned down outside Club Apollo. Now, police are saturating the city's hot spots with officers to try to stop the shootings.

Lawmakers and clergy agree the newly formed task force is a good thing. However, they say no amount of new laws or increased police presence will lower crime. They say hearts and attitudes must change first.

"Cause them to understand, recognize, and realize that which they do is wrecking havoc on the community to the point that it's causing unrest," prayed gospel artist Marvin Sapp.

Dozens gathered Friday at the Peoria County Courthouse to pray, not only for the violence to stop, but to change the mindset of those involved.

"At the end of the day it comes down to having discipline to not go along with the crowd and making good decisions," said Rep. Aaron Schock (R).

"Don't depend on the police or anyone else," said event promoter Willie Williams. "Look to yourself and ask yourself what can you do?"

Representative Schock said this one event won't change the crime in Peoria, but he hopes it's a step in the right direction.

"It's really more than just about this one person or that person getting killed. Yes, that's a tragedy. That's something we need to strive to stop. But it's really about healing a community and that's where the faith community comes in cause you've really got to change the heart of these young people," said Schock.

A change they hope to see before another young life is taken.