200 march to stop violence ‘This rally was a tremendous success’

Published 11:29 pm Saturday, May 15, 2010

Beverly Prentiss has been a Vicksburg police officer for more than 20 years, but Saturday she was one of the dozens of victims of crimes who marched among about 200 people to “stop the violence.”

“Violence doesn’t discriminate,” Prentiss emotionally told the group during a session of testimonies. “My father was murdered in 1992 out in California. I was a police officer at the time. He was so proud of me. He showed my academy picture to everybody.”

The Vicksburg Police Department’s domestic violence community relations supervisor was pleased with the Community Oriented Stop the Violence Rally and March, the brainchild of a woman whose 16-year-old son was stabbed to death minutes before midnight on New Year’s Eve.

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“This brought out into the open what everyone has been thinking,” said Prentiss. “Being the first one, this rally was a tremendous success.”

The 200 participants marched from City Hall on Walnut Street to the Warren County Courthouse on Grove and Cherry streets, some carrying signs remembering those lost to violence.

Lisa King, whose son, Terry Tamal Robinson, was killed Dec, 31, led the march with her sister, Pamela Shaw.

“There are too many mothers crying and too many babies dying,” said Shaw, who wore a T-shirt bearing Terry’s photo. “We need to put the weapons away.”

Terry’s accused killer, Deaunte Earl Lewis, 23, 713 Johnson St., was indicted by Warren County Grand Jury this month and is scheduled to go to trial in November.

Among supporters attending the march were fifth- and sixth-graders at Warren Central Intermediate School.

Their teacher, Zenobia Harris, said the students wanted to show their support for Terry and another former WCI student Derrick Stamps, who was killed on Feb. 14.

“We wanted to show their families that we support them, and want to stop the violence,” Harris said.

Stamps, 18, was shot to death at the Exxon gas station at Clay Street and Mission 66.

Vicksburg Mayor Paul Winfield, Deputy Police Chief John Dolan, the Rev. Manney Murphy and Brenda Theriot, victims’ rights coordinator with the Warren County District Attorney’s Office, spoke at the event.

“No more violence,” was chanted as Winfield made his closing remarks.

“The citizens need to be more vigilant about eradicating violence,” he said. “I’m appreciative of the efforts of the Vicksburg Police Department, the (Warren County) Sheriff’s Office and folks who came out to support us.”

Prentiss, along with event coordinators and Vicksburg Police Community resource officers Darnisha Cash and Danitta Reed, are hoping to turn the rally into an annual event.

Stamps’ death is one of three recorded in the city this year. Jose Arenas, 25, was shot March 4 on an overpass at Interstate 20 and U.S. 61, and Dennis Lewis, 31, was stabbed to death March 20 at 209 Central Drive.

In 2009, three homicides, including Terry’s, were recorded in the city and one in the county. Antonio Turner, 25, was shot March 15 on Alcorn Drive; Danny Miller, 25, was shot April 12 on Baldwin Ferry Road; and Shawn Paul Sponholz, 50, was stabbed Jan. 23 on Warriors Trail.