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Now browsing: Hometown News > News > St. Lucie County

March held to combat violence
Rating: 2.97 / 5 (66 votes)  
Posted: 2012 Aug 10 - 01:15

By Jay Meisel


FORT PIERCE - If a mother whose son was murdered last week has her way, last weekend's march to protest violence won't be the last.

Kisha Armstrong, whose son, Toriell Roberts, 18, was fatally shot on July 29, said at a rally near the location of the murder, that she wants to see a march on the 29th day of each month.

Ms. Armstrong joined more than 100 people on Aug. 4 marching from Avenue D and Martin Luther King Boulevard to Avenue E and North 14th Street.

As they walked along the street, they chanted repeatedly, "Let's stop the violence."

Fort Pierce Police Chief R. Sean Baldwin, who joined the march, said police have yet to make an arrest in connection with the murder of Mr. Roberts.

But both Chief Baldwin and St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara said they believe such marches and rallies are beneficial.

"Each time we have a march, we get more and more tips from about violence in our community," Sheriff Mascara said. "We get more buy-in from the community and that's what we're looking for."

Vince Gaskin, who was the main speaker at a rally following the march, is a candidate for mayor of Fort Pierce, urged people to get involved in fighting violence. He has organized previous marches against violence.

"We've got to end it today," he said. "Let this be the last young man or young woman to die from this foolishness. It doesn't make any sense that for a man walking with his mother to be gunned down."

Mr. Gaskin said people should come forward with information even though someone might call them snitches.

He also said they should be involved despite that it was not their child who was shot.

"Don't leave here and say, 'this is not a problem,'" he said. "It is."

Chief Baldwin applauded the march.

"It is great anytime our community can come together and fight against violence," he said. "This is what our community needs, to fight against the violence."

At the site where Mr. Roberts was murdered, a makeshift memorial, including flowers and a Teddy bear, was created.

Authorities have said Mr. Roberts was approached by three men and a woman while walking. While trying to flee, he was shot.

Mr. Roberts' murder was the first of 2012 in the city of Fort Pierce. There's been several shootings, however, including four people receiving non-fatal gunshot wounds last month.

After the march, Ms. Armstrong recalled the close relationship she had with her son.

She said not only was he her son, but also her "best friend."

He would call her more than a dozen times a day, she said.

Other family members involved in the rally, included Thelrietta Richardson, a cousin, who said she wants people to know that violence isn't the answer to whatever problems they have.

She said not only does it hurt the victim, but also many other people.

Ms. Richardson recalled her cousin as "someone who makes you laugh."

He would go out of his way to help others, she said.

Patricea Williams, a sister of Mr. Roberts, said he planned to go to college "and make something of himself."

She said she hoped the march would contribute to ending the violence and gang activity.

Sheriff Mascara and Chief Baldwin said anyone with information about the shooting of Mr. Roberts can call and ask for them directly or remain anonymous and call Treasure Coast Crime Stoppers at (800) 273-8477.

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