INDIANAPOLIS - Citizens came together Saturday night to send a message that violence in Indianapolis needs to stop.
The city's radio stations collaborated to host the event – dubbed "Indy United" – to promote peace in Indianapolis.
The rally came after an especially violent week in Indy that saw more than a dozen people shot, including IMPD Officer Perry Renn, killed in a shootout with a suspect last Saturday.
"We need to come together," said Indy United attendee Rose Maxey. "We need to hug each other. We need to love on each other and tell these men there is hope. There is things they can do. There's things they can become and we need to let them know that death is not the final answer."
Organizers said they hope the message of peace spreads to Indianapolis neighborhoods like the one on then northeast side where Renn was shot.
Church of Glory Pastor Donald Edwards, Jr., grew up in the Forest Manor community that Renn patrolled for nearly 22 years.
"I saw the violence," Edwards said. "I saw the gang fighting, and our ministry has gotten people off the street that was gang banging, selling dope."
Speakers told the crowd that 73 murders so far this year, on the heels of 125 murders last year, shows police cannot take on violence alone.
"Until you are willing to grab a kid by the collar say, 'We're going this way,' things are not going to change," Edwards said.
The father-in-law of slain IMPD Officer Rod Bradway said police need the community's support.
"It's going to take the whole community to stand together, not just the police," Ronald Gentry said. "The police can only do what they know about. The people have to gather together and support the police and tell them what they know."
Edwards said he believes Indianapolis neighborhoods will become safer when symbolic unity is followed with action.
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