We are here today to mourn three men shot dead August 10th:
· Erick Nieves, 36, killed on Rose Street
· Marquis Tillery, 23, of Trainer, killed here where we stand
· A third victim, aged 47, whose name has not been made public, at the corner of Frank Young Ave. and Union St.
Their deaths bring to 20 the number of murders here in Chester – almost all men struck down in their youth – men who could have graduated from school, worked for their communities, married, raised children, celebrated with their extended family, comforted and cared for their parents as they aged. Instead, they join the sad host of lives cut short by gun violence.
They leave behind them families burdened by grief, families now lacking a father / son / brother / nephew. Families that will remember their deaths, year in and year out.
We are here today to mourn their deaths, and to resolve to fight the plague of illegal guns to the streets of Chester. We are here to denounce the sales to straw buyers – that put guns in the hands of people who because mental illness, domestic abuse, past felonies, or sheer youth – should never have held these guns in the first place.
We pray God to comfort the grieving families, to shelter the souls of Eric, Marquis, and the third man whose name we don’t know, under his wings. We pray God to give us strength to combat this plague of murderous gun violence, and please join with me to say, AMEN.