ALBANY, N.Y. -- For the third week in a row, Albany residents gather to call for an end to the recent gun violence. This comes as police identify the man killed in a shooting early Saturday morning. Now that man's parents are saying the violence has to stop.
“My son, Khalil Barnes, who was brutally murdered on Friday night,” said Fatima Rucker, the mother of homicide victim Khalil Barnes.
Hoping community bonds can break the city’s streak of violence, Fatima Rucker joined dozens in Arbor Hill Park, holding hands in prayer.
“We just have to come together as a community and try to get the children on the same page,” she said.
Hours before the gathering Sunday, her son, 31-year-old Khalil Barnes, was identified by police as the city’s latest victim of gun violence. He was found with gunshot wounds in a car in the area of Quail and First Streets early Saturday. His death marks the city’s eighth homicide of 2018 -- the third this month. Barnes is the 13th person shot since July 3.
His father, Minister Justice Barnes, says Khalil had a criminal past but turned his life around.
“So he was at that stage of turning his life around and when you’re at that stage sometimes it is hard to pull away from things as far as people involved in it,” Barnes said.
His parents say Khalil was close friends with Elijah Cancer, a prominent anti-gun violence advocate. Police say Cancer may have been trying to break up a fight when he was fatally shot July 7. Cancer was laid to rest Saturday.
“The last hours of their life they were with each other so I just want the community to remember that. Don’t think about - it’s an uptown, it’s a downtown, it’s a beef. Remember that. Both of them came home and changed their life and were working to better the community,” Rucker said.
Khalil Barnes leaves behind a 2-year-old daughter and a community hoping their grief inspires change.
Victory Christian Church will be holding a prayer vigil Tuesday night near the scene of Albany's eighth homicide.
The church is also offering a $5,000 reward for information about the shooting death of Kahil Barnes.
Pastor Charlie Mueller say the church will be installing video surveillance cameras in that area Monday.
Albany police are also urging anyone with information to contact them -- anonymous tips can be submitted through Capital Region Crime Stoppers. Any information leading to an arrest may also lead to a reward.