By Ron Marasco
They want the violence to stop, so they rallied at the Statehouse Tuesday night - vowing to take action against what they say are senseless killings that are haunting our community.
"I'm going to tell you now, God didn't tell me I had to like you, but he did tell me I had to love you," preached Ako Abdul-Samad, an Iowa State Representative.
That was the message spread to more than 80 people who gathered on the steps of the Statehouse, candles and posters of loved ones in almost every hand.
"The greatest of these is love. That's all we are here on this earth to do is to love one another," said Patricia Banks, whose son Gerald Bonner was murdered in Des Moines over the weekend. The suspect, John Edwards, has already been arrested.
"He was a very good guy," said Banks. "(A) big ole teddy bear, and I just want to say that I know he's in God's hands. "
"If I can just think about the memories," said Bonner's Aunt Evelyn Sykes, "I could hold that in my heart, but it's painful. It's painful."
The hearts on these steps are feeling a lot of pain. Many have lost loved ones to violence. They're reaching out to others, urging them to do more to end it.
"It's time for action and not just words," said Banks. "We gotta stop."
Walking away from trouble was a key message on this night. The stronger person is in fact the one that can turn the other cheek.
"I was very moved," said supporter Shaqueta Fox. "I figured since it was going to be so cold, I hardly thought anybody was going to really come out here, but just to see how many people have shown, it was wonderful."
"I'm just so thankful to God to see everybody came out to have something like this, so the world could see that people are hurting out here," said Sykes. "It's just senseless killing and it needs to stop."
Balloons were released at the end of the rally, one for each person killed senselessly at the hands of another in recent years.
Supporters at the rally also pleaded with community members to step forward and tell police the names of individuals involved in some of the unsolved crimes in Des Moines.
There are three unsolved murders on the books for Des Moines police in 2012: Stanley Golinsky, a homeless man, was found dead under a railroad bridge near the Des Moines River in October, Nicholas White was discovered dead in his basement near Drake University in November and Rashad Adair was shot in his car in December and died a couple weeks later.
If you know anything about any of these cases, call Polk County Crime Stoppers: 515-223-1400.