After a month marred by violence, community leaders in New Castle are inviting the public to an evening of togetherness.
The "Community Come Together to Stand Against Violence" event is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Riverwalk Park downtown. The event will feature community and special guest speakers and prayers led by religious leaders. A candlelight vigil and sky lantern release will also take place.
The event is co-hosted by the New Castle Police Department and Chief Bobby Salem, Lawrence County District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa and his office as well as New Castle city mayoral candidates Mark Elisco and Chris Frye.
Organizers ask the community to join in support as the it starts the healing process from a tumultuous month of tragedy for New Castle and Lawrence County that included four homicides against young people. Three of the victims were minors and died from incidents occurring over an 11-day span.
On July 8, following a domestic dispute, a man brutally stabbed his girlfriend's son, 8-year-old Markie Mason, to death at a Union Township home. Keith L. Burley, recently paroled from a 1999 third-degree murder charge, was apprehended the next day by U.S. Marshals in Youngstown, Ohio, and extradited back to the Lawrence County, where he is awaiting his next court appearance.
On July 11, Jazmyn Keller, 12, was shot and killed by her mother, who then set the family's Neshannock Township home on fire before taking her own life in a murder-suicide.
Then on July 17, two men were shot on Bryson Mill Road in Shenango Township. Brian Eisenhuth, 23, was dead at the scene. Ronald Lantz Jr. 24, was also shot. Police have yet to identify a suspect.
On July 19, Darren Jevcak, 17, was shot and killed outside his Highland Avenue place of employment. His girlfriend's father, Michael D'Biago of Beaver Falls, is charged in the slaying.
Alissa Jones, 19, died on July 2 three days after being hit by a tractor trailer in West Pittsburg. The driver fled the scene.
The event aims for the community "to come together with strength and courage as one community. Families that have been affected directly by the recent tragic events will be in attendance. Please help us honor their memory."