Vigil puts focus on protecting children from gun violence - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Vigil puts focus on protecting children from gun violence

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Community activist Chris 2X addresses family and friends of Michal Phelps Community activist Chris 2X addresses family and friends of Michal Phelps

Louisville, Ky (WDRB) -- Friends and family gathered to remember a young woman who police say was shot and killed by her step-father less than a week ago. The vigil was also an opportunity to address the impact of violence on our younger generations.

"It's crazy and shocking at the same time," said the victim's sister Shakeith Malone. Family and friends gathered at the home where police say 28-year-old Michel Phelps lost her life to gun violence.

"[The event] was about just letting everyone know that we are here for each other, and we are here for her, and we do this for her," said family friend Briana Wakefi.

On a day when parents are usually recognized, the victim's sister has mixed emotion about the holiday.

"Every father's day, we celebrate our step-father's birthday on the same day," said Malone. This year, her step-dad sits in jail, as she prepares her sister's funeral.

"He just snapped," said Malone. She said there were on-going fights over who was allowed to live in the house. Malone explains that disputes began once her step-father started working on his relationship with his son. "The stepson just didn't want to connect with the girls."

An ongoing argument over who would live in the home, came to a head early Wednesday morning, as police say 55-year-old Fred Leach killed his step-daughter and injured her two adopted sisters.

"They were the family who there was always laughing and joking outside. It is just hard to believe," said Wakefi.

With plenty of young ears in the crowd, the focus of the vigil quickly turned to the children.

"If we move forward on behalf of her children, we have a shot to put the last tattoo on this situation," said community activist Chris 2X. He told the crowd that it is through learning the compassion of youth that we will shield children from experiencing the horrors of violence.

As the family of Michal Phelps tries to move forward, a community rittled by violence hopes for change.

"I've lost him a couple friends to gun violence, so I'm behind him 100%" said Wakeifi.

A funeral for Phelps is planned for this Wednesday at Hill Street Baptist Church in Louisville. The wake will start at 11 a.m., followed by the funeral at 1 p.m. The church is located at 2203 Dixie Highway.

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