St. Pete residents say ‘Enough is Enough’ violence in the city

St. Petersburg City Councilmember Lisa Wheeler-Bowman waves an "Enough is Enough" sign during a rally against violence Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020. Daniel Figueroa IV/WMNF

St. Petersburg residents led by a few city council members gathered Saturday to say “Enough is Enough” violence in the city.

The movement comes just days after a 20-year-old Black man was killed on the city’s south side.

For a little over an hour, about 50 St. Pete residents stood on each corner at the intersection of 34th Street and 18th Avenue South. Many, like Marees Scott, have been personally affected by years of violence. Scott’s son, Marquis, a former Northeast High School football star, was killed a year ago, just a few blocks from where his father stood holding a sign that read “stop the violence.”

“I had just given him a bicycle and after I left, maybe 20 minutes later, some guys rode up and shot him and killed him,” Scott said.

Enough is enough

Marquis Scott was one of 23 homicides in St. Pete in 2019. Thirteen of those deaths came from gun violence. The “Enough is Enough” movement comes after a particularly violent November that saw seven shootings and three deaths in the city. Violence was on full display last week when live streamed video caught a shootout between St. Pete police and Dominique Harris outside of a convenience store.

Marees Scott rallies against the kind of violence that took his son’s life on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020. Daniel Figueroa IV/WMNF

An officer was injured in the shootout and Harris died after being shot 38 times by police.

Inconvenient gatherings

Councilmember Lisa Wheeler-Bowman, whose own son was murdered in 2008, said gatherings at convenience stores are part of the problem.

“By allowing those gatherings and not signing blanket trespassing warrants so that the officers can go on your property and do what they need to do to break up those gatherings and you’re not doing that, you’re disrespecting us,” Wheeler-Bowman said. “Because you’re allowing our children, other people’s children, to die.”

From each corner they chanted.

Kyandra Darling, 28, leads chants during a rally against violence in St. Petersburg Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020. Daniel Figueroa IV/WMNF

“Enough is enough. Enough is Enough.”

And pleaded.

“Save our sons. Save our daughters.”

Broken hearts

Councilmember Darden Rice was also on hand to say enough is enough.

“My heart is breaking. This violence, this string of tragedies, it’s too much it has to stop,” she said.

Deborah Figgs-Sanders, another St. Pete councilmember, said changing the culture of violence is going to take collaboration and cooperation at all levels.

Enough is Enough rally in St. Petersburg on Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020. Daniel Figueroa IV/WMNF

“It’s not gonna take City Council. It’s just not gonna take community advocates. It’s just not gonna take the community. It’s gonna take everybody.”

Just after 1 p.m., the sign waivers marched their way back to the Shell station where they gathered. Huddling in a circle, Pastor Louis Murphy of Mt. Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church led the crowd in a prayer asking God for a little extra help.

“And let all of us, especially the clergy, come out from amongst our four walls. Get into the highways. Get into the alleys, oh god. Not another son. Not my son. Not another grandson. Not another daughter. Not another granddaughter. In the name of Jesus. We plead the blood of Jesus over St. Petersburg. We plead the blood of Jesus.”

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