JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Dozens started a march on Moncrief and 45th street, walking for several blocks to spread a message. The Greater Moncrief Missionary Baptist Church does this march every year as an anti-drug rally, but this year, the focus was saving lives.
Members of the church, MAD DADS, and other community members marched to be visible in their Northwest Jacksonville neighborhood, to lead by giving an example.
"If we can help just one person to turn away from violence, some person who selling drugs or perhaps thinking about committing a crime, see us marching, doing something positive, trying to bring some light to our community," said Reverend Q.G. Thomas, Senior Pastor.
Dozens march to raise awareness about a growing crime trend on the Northwest Jacksonville.
Reverend Thomas says his church marches every year, but this year violence struck too close to home. Members of the church, Oscar Tinsley and Nancy Johnson-Tinsley died in a murder suicide July 9 in the Operation Ceasefire zone where JSO has tried to curb crime. In the same zone the next day, the church's Youth Pastor's grandson, Jonathan Thomas was found dead in a driveway from a gunshot wound.
"Times are so dangerous now that if we don't come together we're going to see even more of our people being destroyed," said Sinatra Thomas, Youth Pastor and grandfather of the victim.
Two more were victims of violence Thursday night. Police say the men were sitting at this drive- thru at Soutel Liquors when a black Ford Expedition pulled up next to the passenger side and shot inside the car. Both cars fled, the victims stopped to get help at the Winn-Dixie less than half a mile down the road.
"Every day you hear on the news some child has been murdered, shot down in the prime of their life," said Norma Hills.
Hills has lived in Northwest Jacksonville her whole life and is a member of the church. She's hoping that by walking alongside her pastors, her church friends, and family, something will change.
"I have children, grandchildren and great grandchildren that I fight for," said Hill.
MAD DADS is asking you to break the silence if you know anything about these crimes call Crimestoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.