“We want to be safe and protected, ”Children march in parade after Knollwood shooting
RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - A specialist with the Rapid City Police department, Tyler Read, calls himself someone who likes to unite people -- saying he regularly visits with children and spreads messages of compassion.
His office, where he invites the youth to stay, play video games, interact with art and teach kindness -- is near where the recent shooting took place at the Knollwood Apartments, and he says he’s had enough.
That’s why he gathered some of the youth that he works on a regular basis.
They banded together and made signs that expressed their thoughts on violence within the community.
After they all crafted their signs, a truck started up. In the bed of the truck were some men gathered around a drum, and as the car began to move, so did a parade through the neighborhood.
The booms echoed through the community in an attempt to make their voices, and their message, much louder.
Tyler Read, RCPD’s Community Engagement Specialist says, ”we’ve got a lot of friction in the community. Yesterday morning, we had a shootout, and it wasn’t the first by any means. We’ve had several over the last month and a half or so. The apartment that was shot at was full of youth.”
“Maybe if we stop the violence, maybe more good luck will come,” said a young girl attending the march.
“When the police arrived yesterday, fresh off of the gunfire, we looked up and there was a little boy about five years old waving at us. There were bullet holes right next to where he was waving at.”
“Everybody is family,” said a boy attending the march.
“Did your parents teach you that? Or how did you learn that everybody is family,” asked a reporter?
“Tyler taught me,” answered the boy.
Read says, “I’m terrified that one day I’m going to come to work and I’m going to find out that I lost one of them. So, this is them saying that ‘we want to be safe, we want to be protected.’ The police department can play cat and mouse with the people that are victimizing this neighborhood all day long, and they can play cat and mouse with us. But, they can’t play cat and mouse with their neighbors. Ultimately, the time’s coming when the neighbors are going to say, ' you’re not going to harm our children anymore.’”
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