Stop the Violence Walk in Springfield brings Victims families together

People who've lost loved ones to gun violence shared their stories with 22News.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)- Cynthia Santana lost her boyfriend, 30-year-old Luis Reyes on September 2nd.  Reyes was found shot in Springfield’s Entertainment District while walking back to his parked car.

“It’s only two months but what would I give for him to be here right now and I know he would be here for the simple fact that he knows how much violence meant to me, and he’s not here but guys we need to get it together” Santana said. Her 18-year-old cousin Kenneth Lopez was the eighth homicide victim in the city in March 2015. He was found shot dead in someone’s yard in the North End.  A month later 22-year-old Lee Manuel Rios was charged with Lopez’s murder.

On Saturday, residents came together for a “Stop the Violence Walk.” from Magazine park through the old hill neighborhood. One of the event organizers, Rosemary Martinez said, “These shootings just happen sporadically anywhere at anytime of day so you just never know if a kid might get hurt or something. ”

This is the first year that this particular stop the violence walk has occurred in Springfield, and while event organizers say there have been similar events to it in the past, they decided to get involved because so many family and friends have been affected by violence over the years. They said the key to success is getting the entire community involved. “I know a lot of people don’t believe in talking to the police for whatever reason but in reality they are doing their job. They are here to help us out they are doing the best they can and today it’s just taking a little bit off their hands hopefully.”

Putnam Vocational High School Students were involved in organizing. “Put the word out that there are lots of people out there who care and who are doing great things, and our students are great kids and they come from great families,” Bill Scott, Putnam Vocational High School’s Dean of Students said.

Manuel Davila lost his 20-year-old son Sergio Davila in September. He was shot outside a car on Worthington and Armory Streets, and died at the hospital days later. “Really hard, it’s really hard so it’s like starting all over again with my grandson so take it day by day, but it really hurts though,” Davila said.

No arrests have been made in Reyes or Davila’s murder. Anyone with information is being asked to come forward.