Community members gather in Douglass Park as violence rises
COLUMBIA - Community members gathered for a barbecue in Douglass Park Saturday in hopes of changing perceptions about the park.
The Columbia Police Department has responded to 39 shots fired calls since June 1, including several shootings resulting in injury. Shots were fired at Douglass Park on June 29.
The Columbia Police Department announced Monday it had preliminarily identified some individuals who they believe may be involved in other shootings around Columbia, adding that some may have gang affiliations.
In an effort to improve the public perceptions of Douglass Park among the violence, the community group organized the event.
"I have a concern for people," said Willie D Hall, pastor at D-Life Fitness. "Violence does not help any situation," he said.
Hall joined his wife, Shamar Rich-Hall, to welcome community members to the park Saturday morning.
"What I'm hoping is that we'll be able to spread love throughout the community, that this park will be a safer place for children," Rich-Hall said.
Community members gathered Saturday to show the community they believe Douglass Park is a good place.
"There's a better way than the violence," Rich-Hall said. "We need to unite and we need to love one another."