Crime & Courts

Wichita gathering denounces gang violence after man, 25, shot to death at 15th and Green

Lemmie Alford pictured in 2011.
Lemmie Alford pictured in 2011.

Enough gang violence.

That was the message a group of about 100 people conveyed Thursday, a day after a shooting on 15th and Green involving who police say are documented gang members left a 25-year-old man dead.

Lemmie Alford was two blocks from home, family says, when he was shot down in the street late Wednesday night.

Police say three men were leaving a residence near the intersection of 15th and Green when one was shot after being called over to a passing vehicle.

Officers in the area heard the shots. When they arrived at the scene, they found the 25-year-old lying in the street at the intersection shortly before midnight. He was transported to Wesley Medical Center and was pronounced dead shortly after 12:30 a.m. Thursday.

Alford’s death, one of several remembered during a candlelight vigil held Thursday night at 21st and Hillside, was a clear sign to Aaron “A.J.” Bohannon that ending gang violence needs help from the community.

“We can’t wait. The gangs aren’t putting a time limit on their actions, so why should we put a time limit on ours?” said Bohannon, who organized a grassroots group “I Got Yo Back” after he was arrested at Towne East Square last week for refusing to remove a sign he wore in support of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager shot and killed by a neighborhood watchman. He said Thursday he is a friend of Alford’s and of 27-year-old James Gary, who was gunned down during a gang-related dispute on July 14 at a warehouse party on 11th and Mosley, as well as a cousin to Marquez Smart, who was shot by police in 2011 as he fled Old Towne.

“We need to act just as fast or faster,” Bohannon said.

Wichita police Lt. Todd Ojile said the 25-year-old man – identified as Alford in a police report – and two other men were leaving a house in the area when a passenger in an SUV at the intersection yelled at one of them to come over. The 25-year-old was shot, he said, shortly after reaching the vehicle, which then fled west on 15th. The two other men stayed on the sidewalk and did not approach the vehicle, Ojile said.

Police do not have a description of the suspects. The vehicle was an SUV, but its color, make and model were not given Thursday.

This is the 10th homicide in Wichita this year, according to Ojile. The 25-year-old killed and the other two men are all documented gang members, Ojile said. Although police declined to name the shooting victim, the Sedgwick County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed Alford’s death Thursday afternoon.

“He could have made it home,” TinaMarie Coleman said of Alford, her cousin. She attended Thursday’s vigil and spoke in his memory. “I don’t know the full the details (of his killing), but we’re going to miss him and love him.”

Related stories from Wichita Eagle