A 15-year-old boy is the latest victim of gun violence in Dallas.
Police are searching for the person who gunned down Noel King at a South Oak Cliff park overnight, just minutes into the start of National Gun Violence Awareness Day.
Neighbor Dennis Pickens was in bed when he heard two rounds of gunshots.
“Lady next door called me and said it looked like a Christmas tree out in the front of the house and I said: 'Really?' She said: 'Someone was shot,'” said Pickens. “It’s a sad situation.”
Dallas police say it started with a fight arranged by two females on social media.
Groups of teens showed up at Derrick Geter Park and began to fight when someone pulled out a gun and began shooting.
The victims were gone when officers got to the scene.
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Two teens later showed up at different hospitals with gunshot wounds.
King died at Baylor Medical Center.
A second shooting victim who is 18 years old survived.
Joshua Asuquo, senior pastor at Glory Cathedral Assembly in Carrollton says King visited the church as one of its youngest guest ministers.
"I know it's going to be very sad news for the congregation to hear that," Asuquo said Friday.
King, 15, was active in mime ministry, a form of interpretive gospel through dance.
"Every time when he comes he always sits right here and anytime I say something to him, he just waved at me and smiled," Asaquo said.
This is the city’s 103rd murder of the year, an increase over 2020.
“Another child being snuffed out before they get a chance to experience adulthood for a senseless reason is what makes this sad today,” said Mar Butler of Dallas Cred.
DPD’s Gang Unit joined the investigation overnight, although it is unclear if gang violence played a role in the shooting.
Butler says the crime scene is one of the high-crime areas of the city the violence interrupter group has focused on.
Dallas CRED’s mission is to reduce violent crime by improving relations between police and residents, improving neighborhoods, offering employment and housing opportunities, and providing youth safe alternatives.
The group often visits apartment complexes in high-crime areas for community cleanup efforts.
In this case, Butler says the race is now on to find friends and family and prevent any more possible bloodshed.
“We have to dig in, we have to get and offer services, offer anything that can alleviate their grieving process because we want to reduce retaliation,” he said.
Dallas Cred hopes to increase the peace with already-planned citywide marches against gun violence scheduled for June 4 across the city.
‘Citywide March Against Gun Violence’ Marches will begin at 11 a.m. in the following neighborhoods:
- Pleasant Grove: Bruton & St. Augustine
- North Dallas: Audelia & Forest
- South Dallas: 2nd & Metropolitan
- West Dallas: Hampton & Singleton
- Oak Cliff: Ledbetter & Bonnieview
A peace rally is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Dallas City Hall.
Pickens hopes efforts like this reach Dallas youth before it’s too late.
“The only thing I can say to them is they need to turn their lives over to the Lord and try to do what’s right,” he said. “If not, they’re going to throw their lives away.”