The families of the victims speak at the anti-violence demonstration in Petersburg

By | September 17, 2023

PETERSBURG — Ninety-one days after her 10-year-old son became the city’s youngest murder victim in more than 50 years, Carrie Friar said the pain never goes away.

“I’m angry. My girls are angry,” Friar said at the “Stop The Violence” rally Saturday afternoon in Petersburg. “My son was a big part of us.”

K’Von Morgan died June 17 when a bullet pierced the wall of his bedroom at Pecan Acres Estates, striking him as he played video games with a friend. His death shook all of Petersburg, but so far no one has been arrested despite calls from the police, the community and his family for someone to provide information.

“We’re kind of lost without him,” Friar said in his first public comments since the shooting. “I just wish someone would say something. I have lived in Kenilworth for 14 years and I know people are out at all hours of the night. I know someone saw something.”

K’Von, his mother said, was “always loving and caring.”

Pastor Belinda Baugh, who has organized the STV rally since its inception four years ago, said it is shameful that no one has provided information about K’Von’s shooting.

“Don’t stand here today and tell me you didn’t see something, you didn’t hear something, you don’t know something!” said Baugh, a well-known victims’ advocate and pastor of the New Divine Worship Center. “The loudest generation that ever lived… the gossipiest generation I’ve ever seen. You’ll stab each other in the back instead of supporting each other!”

On a sunny afternoon in front of the Third Baptist Church on Farmer Street, rally attendees gathered to eat homemade food, drink sweet tea and lemonade and express love to the families of murder victims from across the Tri-area -City.

The highlight of the day – Baugh called it “my favorite part” – was the arrival of a parade of family and friends. Led by a Petersburg sheriff’s escort, the parade began at Walmart on South Crater Road and wound through the city where it was greeted with cheers and applause from rallygoers. Participants honked horns and waved signs with photos of their lost loved ones. Leather-clad motorcyclists and a group representing a “Black Power Coalition” also took part in the parade and stood in formation at the rally carrying flags with messages.

The largest contingents of family and friends were there for K’Von and for Toni “Stinka” Knight, who was shot and killed in crossfire on July 2, 2022, at the ArtistSpace Lofts on Perry Street, a few blocks from where the event was held. All of the suspects in his death were convicted of second-degree murder and have been sentenced or are awaiting sentencing.

“For me it’s a life sentence. It’s a life sentence for anyone who has lost a loved one,” Knight’s mother, Diane Branzelle, told the crowd. “Please, please, stop this needless violence. It takes the lives of the entire family.”

Also there was Brionna Taylor, whose eight-year-old daughter Paris Mi-Unique Angel Moore, was killed Dec. 30, 2022, in Hopewell. She tried to speak but she was too overcome with emotion.

In addition to families, friends and community members, the rally attracted both Democrat Lashrecse Aird and Republican Eric Ditri, who are running in the 13th the Senate district seat in the November election, and Kimberly Pope Adams, a Democrat who is challenging incumbent Republican Del. Kim Taylor in the November ’82 electionnd House district election. No one from the Petersburg City Council attended.

Bill Atkinson (he/him/his) is an award-winning journalist covering breaking news, government and politics. Reach him at or on X (formerly known as Twitter) at @BAtkinson_PI.

This article originally appeared on The Progress-Index: Victims’ families speak at anti-violence event in Petersburg

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