MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A community is mourning the death of three teens.
The boys were killed in a crash after a high-speed chase by Minneapolis police early Monday morning at North Emerson and 18th avenues.
Police were chasing the vehicle because it matched the description of one that was carjacked about 24 hours earlier.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office identified the three victims Tuesday: 13-year-old Cortez Antonio Williams Jr., 15-year-old Jamontae Welch and 16-year-old Demetrius Devell Dobbins Jr.
A constant stream of mourners continue to flow into the area where the boys lost their lives. An entire community is mourning and searching for answers as to how to stop this display of sorrow from happening again.
Family and friends of the victims keep constant vigil over the site where they took their last breaths. Scattered amongst them are men who have worked with the teens, and who are trying more than ever to change the outcomes of their lives.
Jamil Jackson leads The Interrupters, a group of men who walk city streets to interrupt crime before it happens.
“It allows for that moment of similarity, if you will, between the generations so that we can have the honest conversation of, ‘I’ve been there,’ and it’s not from a big I, little you standpoint, right? It’s from a we’re here together, we’re hurting together,” Jackson said. “Part of the reason why you guys are in this situation is because we haven’t’ been as vocal and as out there being active, active as we need to be, right? Which has left them to figure out things for themselves. And so within that we have to apologize for that role, or that lack of.”
Jackson says after that apology, it’s time to listen to what they need to keep them away from criminal activity.
Quantrell Urman, also a member of The Interrupters, says it will take the entire village to promote healing, moving past the hurt and figuring out a new way of doing things.
“We love them, we’re here for them,” Urman said. “We need the village. We can’t do it alone.”
Right now, these men say the finger pointing of who is responsible for this tragedy needs to stop.
“It takes every neighbor to be responsible for every child, every woman, every elderly within this community, and we have the ability to do it,” Jackson said.
They say it’s time to comfort those who mourn, and continue to build relationships in the hope it will lead to change.
The Interrupters plan to be at the vigil site for as long as it takes to make sure it remains a peaceful place for mourning, as well as give them opportunity to reach the young people who are looking for a better way.