Neighborhood pleas for peace after shooting

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A block party at College Hill Park was serving up more than hot dogs to the neighborhood Wednesday night.

The event being held across the street from Gary Dunn’s home was energetic. It was hard not to get caught up in the celebration of life.

“This is a great thing,” said Gary Dunn. “It’s good to see the young, old, and everyone out here enjoying, smiling, and having a good time.”

It was a much different scene than what Dunn saw a week earlier at College Hill Park.

A basketball game turned tragic when 28-year-old Aaron Smith was shot and killed.

A week later, eight white balloons took to the sky on the court where Smith was killed. They signified the deaths of Smith and other homicide victims in Dayton this year.

Dunn hopes days like that are long done.

“When you hear music playing and you see a lot of children out here, it’s a positive thing for the neighborhood.”

That was what others in the community were hoping to do with the block party.

Organizations like the Dayton Urban Ministry Center and The Adam Project planned the party together with a simple message.

Stop the violence.

“The goal is really to get the community involved,” said Willie Walker, Executive Director of Dayton Urban Ministry Center. “At the same time, build up the actual support and let them know that we’re here to support them on anything that they need.”

Organizers wanted to show the block party could be a way to bring the community together.

It is something Dunn would like to see happen more.

“Hopefully, we will,” said Dunn. “If we don’t see it soon, we’re going to make sure it does happen.”

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