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Family holds vigil to remember murder victim

Posted at: 04/09/2013 10:37 PM
Updated at: 04/09/2013 11:16 PM
By: Lynette Adams

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As a family remembers a loved one lost to violence, they want to know what can be done to stop others from dying.

It was one year ago Tuesday, that Lawrence Richardson was shot and killed. The 22-year-old was with two other young men, walking on Dayton Street when police say someone shot all three of them. The other two survived.

On Tuesday night, family members, friends and others who knew Richardson gathered on Dayton Street to remember him. A year has gone by and no arrests in connection with his death have been made.

Richardson's family said they held the rally because they don't want Lawrence Richardson to be forgotten or his quest to help other young people turn away from violence. At the same time, the Richardsons have questions for the Rochester Police Department. But they're not asking why his murder has not been solved.

Michelle Richardson, victim's aunt, said, “Only thing I want to know from them is how can we change our community.”

Michelle Richardson is expressing the frustration of her entire family. Not only did they lose a loved one when Lawrence Richardson was gunned down a year ago, but she says they have watched as the violence continues. Just this year alone, nine people shot and killed on the streets of Rochester.

So News10NBC took Richardson's question to Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard. His response is the police department is targeting gangs, recently sending them letters and putting them on notice.

Chief James Sheppard  said, “Our purpose wasn't just to ask them not to do it, but really it is about a gang focus, a group focus on individuals who are involved in shooting.”

But Sheppard says that's only a part of it.

Sheppard said, “As you know many times we've had homicides in which people are witnesses, numerous witnesses, hundreds of people that actually see an event occur but no one wants to step up, but they want some to make it stop, but the solution to making it stop is working with the Rochester Police Department, developing witnesses, people coming forward who will testify and we can make a difference. We can make a change.”

And that was Richardson's appeal.

Richardson said, “We just say to anybody who has any information that can help us catch the person who's done this, to come forward and give police information on it.”

Chief Sheppard says there are number of ways to give information anonymously.  For example, every Tuesday from 3:00p.m. to 4:00p.m., the chief hosts a Twitter town meeting. You can send an anonymous tweet. There's also MyPD app which you can download on your phone or tablet and you can send an tips using the app. The chief says take a picture or video and send it in. No one has to know.