Residents organize “Stop the Violence” rally, speak on gun violence in Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Residents took to the streets of Buffalo on Wednesday to voice their concerns about gun violence throughout the city. Community members are saying that too many innocent lives have been lost and something needs to change.

Tara and Taru Woods organized a “Stop the Violence” rally to bring awareness to gun violence happening in their neighborhood. The rally took place just five days after three-year-old Ramone Carter was shot and killed on Domedion Avenue.

Local anti-violence groups say too many teens have access to illegal guns

Tara and Taru are both parents. They say the shooting hit close to home.

“We have teenagers, so to know that these weapons are in the hands of children that haven’t even lived their lives and then they took the life of a child, a baby who hadn’t even had a chance to go to school yet, hasn’t experienced any part of life really outside of being home with their mom,” Tara said.

“To lose a three-year-old, to lose anyone, but, to lose a beautiful baby that hasn’t even had the chance to live? It’s just tragic,” Taru said.

In a press conference held on Tuesday, Acting Erie County District Attorney Michael Keane said there are no possible consequences in the state’s criminal justice system for the parents of the two teens who were indicted.

Taru said as a father, it’s quite difficult to control what another person can do in a split second.

“It’s just so hard because you can only install so much into a person,” he said. “Once they leave out your doors, it’s free will.”

That’s where groups like Most Valuable Parents of Buffalo come in to help. It’s an organization that advocates for safer neighborhoods and helps parents who have lost children to gun violence.

Shakenya Griffin, Carter’s mother, is an active member of MVP. At the rally, another volunteer in the group described the killing of Carter as a double-edged sword.

Mother of 3-year-old boy who was killed pleads with community to stop the violence

“Either way it goes, it’s not a win-win, it’s a lose-lose for both sides,” said Marlon Keith, a member of MVP. “Somebody’s child is going to prison. Somebody’s child is already dead, so there’s no winner in this.”

Keith said MVP is always looking for more volunteers. He plans to get the youth involved in other activities to keep them safe and off the streets.

According to Michael Keane, the 16-year-old is being charged as an adult and faces a maximum of 25 years to life in prison. The 14-year-old faces a different sentence due to his age, which is a maximum of 15 years to life in prison.

The two teens are scheduled to return for a pre-trial conference July 24. Both are being held without bail in the custody of the Erie County Youth Services Center.

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Trina Catterson joined the News 4 team in 2024. She previously worked at WETM-TV in Elmira, a sister station of WIVB. See more of her work here.

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