After a series of shootings that left four people dead over three days, a group of local pastors assembled Tuesday to say enough is enough.
“We want to send a clear message that we are not just sitting idly by and letting this violence, hurt and pain overtake our neighborhood,” said Wade Moore, pastor at the Christian Faith Centre. “We’re here to do something about it, and not just today. We are formulating a long-term plan.”
A group of about 10 people – representatives from the Greater Wichita Ministerial League, Sunflower Community Action and the NAACP – gathered at Calvary Baptist Church on Tuesday to decry the recent violence.
Within a 90-minute span Monday afternoon and in about a mile-and-a-half radius, two people were shot and killed in domestic-related disputes and another was critically wounded. The gunman in one of the cases also killed himself.
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Dorce Pittman, 42, was shot in the head near 14th and Lorraine while running away from his ex-girlfriend’s house. Police said he had fired a shot at the house before fleeing.
Later Monday afternoon, a man shot his girlfriend, her sister and then killed himself, police said.
On Saturday, a Wichita State University student was shot to death in a parking lot at Fairmount Towers.
The Rev. T. La Mont Holder, speaking Tuesday, said the crimes speak to a growing disparity in the African-American community in Wichita.
“I think it’s akin to a volcano that’s been asleep for a thousand years,” Holder said. “These type of dark occurrences are only the beginning of that violence erupting, and when it erupts, we have a greater social problem.”
The Greater Wichita Ministerial League is planning to provide assistance to the families of both the victims and alleged perpetrators in the shootings, whether that be cooking meals for them, visiting people in jail or making funeral arrangements.
“Now that it’s hit home, we want to show our community that we are here to lead and guide them through this tragic storm,” Moore said.
People wanting to assist with efforts to provide relief are encouraged to call the Greater Wichita Ministerial League at 316-361-0299 or Kenya Cox, president of the local NAACP branch, at 866-591-1199.
In Monday’s second shooting, a 41-year-old woman called 911 shortly after 5 p.m. after hearing a gunshot inside her house in the 2600 block of North Minnesota, Lt. Todd Ojile said.
After hearing the gunshot, she opened the door of her bedroom, looked outside and saw her 20-year-old daughter, who told her that her other daughter had been shot by that daughter’s boyfriend, Ojile said. The mother closed and barricaded her door, after which she heard “numerous other shots fired inside the residence,” he said.
She didn’t come out of the bedroom until a 911 emergency dispatcher told her that police were outside the house, Ojile said. Officers came in and found Alaysia Sellers, 21, dead in the kitchen. Her sister, who had been shot numerous times, was lying in the living room.
Sellers’ boyfriend, Jordan Bobo, 28, was “between the two victims” when police entered the house, Ojile said. He was dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The girls’ mother was not hurt, Ojile said. Two young children who were in the house at the time – a 3-year-old boy and a 6-month-old girl – also were not injured.
Sellers was shot first, Ojile said, and Bobo shot the 20-year-old sister several times before turning the gun on himself. Investigators think Sellers and Bobo argued about something just before the gunfire.
“We don’t know if it was over money, another female or just some kind of domestic argument,” Ojile said.
Bobo would occasionally stay at the house where the shootings occurred, he said, but he did not live there.
The surviving shooting victim was in critical condition Tuesday, a Wesley Medical Center spokeswoman said.
Before Monday’s shootings, Ojile said, police had no prior domestic violence history at that address or involving that couple.
Bobo had an aggravated battery conviction – a felony that barred him from owning or possessing firearms – stemming from a 2010 assault, according to a search of Sedgwick County District Court and Kansas Department of Corrections records.
Contributing: Amy Renee Leiker of The Eagle