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Little Rock community leaders pray for the city after 14th homicide of the year

"The only way to change it is to show love, and that's what we've got to do in this city. Show some love, show these kids some love."

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — At the corner of 14th and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive is an empty lot, but it's what's sitting in the middle that matters.

This morning, there were 13 white crosses hammered into the dirt. Community leaders added the 14th cross this afternoon after Little Rock saw it's 14th homicide of the year.

"It's very disheartening," Reverend Benny Johnson said. "Other concerned citizens, parents of murdered children. Man, we just came together to pray for our city."

Reverend Johnson was joined by almost 30 people, all praying for Little Rock.

In the 92 days since January 1, the city has seen 14 homicides. Little Rock police released data on March 29, just hours before the cities 14th homicide, detailing statistics on Little Rock's violent crime so far this year.

In that three month stretch last year, Little Rock saw just eight homicides. In the first three months this year, Little Rock's 14 homicides are good for a 63% increase.

"This is not anything I expect LRPD to fix themselves, because they can't," Sergeant Willie Davis, formerly with the department, said. "They can't solve one crime unless they get help from the community."

That sentiment is what brought many people out today, including parents like Earl Williams.

He lost three sons to violence, but is using his grief to promote change.

"It's our kids now that's dying every other day, if not every day," Williams said. "If we don't start doing something to prevent that, get them something to do, show them a way to make a living... cause the streets is going to eat them up."

Williams spoke to the crowd, also insisting that retaliation isn't the answer. He says he prays every day for those who took his sons' lives.

"Getting even ain't the answer, you can't never equal what you lost," he said. "You can't do that. The only way to change it is to show love, and that's what we've got to do in this city. Show some love, show these kids some love, if we show these kids some love, they'll hug you back."

It's sentiments like that that brought community members and leaders out today.

"To get this solved, and get this under control," Reverend Phil Moore said. "We have to work together, and trust God Almighty."

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