Marshall Holds Anti-Violence Rally

An East Texas community tries to take its neighborhood back from drug and crime activity.   Today, Marshall neighbors came together at a park, where a shooting killed one man and wounded six others.

Residents came together in a west Marshall neighborhood in Smith Park to try to make a difference in a rally called "Stop the Violence".

"We're reaching out to the children.  We're letting them know that.  We're not going to stand for parks being taken over by drug dealers and gang bangers.  We're just not going to stand for it," said Demetria McFarland, whose son was killed in a shooting in 2004.

Six people were wounded and Lee Arthur McCowan, 29, was killed in a gun battle at Smith Park in March.  Authorities say an on-going feud between two rival groups led to the shooting.  Residents say the park has become a hangout for drug and violent activity, and they have had enough.

"It's really about the kids and they should be able to come to the park and play and not worry about dodging bullets," said Elwood McFarland.

"I think this is where it starts if we can get the young black males to participate and know the importance of family and values then I think we're going somewhere," said Marshall city commissioner Katie Jones.

They gathered to talk about what they can do to take back their neighborhood and make their area safer for kids.

"It's very important to me because I have other kids I have grand kids, and my kids would like to come to the park without being afraid of something happening to them the same that happened to my son," said Ruby McCowan, Lee McCowan's mother.

Families of victims spoke of losing their loved ones, and how to stop it from happening again. More than 200 people attended the event.

Bob Hallmark reporting,