Homicide occurs hours before scheduled prayer event at Lafayette Park in Norfolk

Posted at 7:27 PM, Jul 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-18 23:27:29-04

NORFOLK, Va. - "A 7 Cities One Night of Prayer" event was scheduled for July 18th at Lafayette Park, the same day as a man was found shot to death at the park.

"That's the reason for the prayers because of stuff like that, tragedies like that," says Madia Skinner, who organized the movement.

The event is the first of several, to go to every Hampton Roads city to gather in prayer in light of the recent violence across the country.

Organizers say they never expected the first event to be just hours removed from a homicide.

"It got to be predestined for us to be here at this very location," says Deshawn Parker. "I felt like it was right on time."

The prayer and conversation also focused on those who have lost their lives in police shootings, for police officers killed in recent shootings, and for local, senseless shootings, including the recent triple shooting in Norfolk that went viral on Facebook.

The group says they wanted to gather, but not in protest.

"If it's a peaceful protest that's OK, but at the end of the day, what is a protest doing? We need to come together in unity, and pray, and really come together as a community," says Parker.

The crime scene could have prevented it all from happening, but organizers say letting violence win does not accomplish anything.

"We need something powerful, we need something more positive," says Skinner. "That will draw the people in to see that stuff like this can still happen and can still work."