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Reading residents turn to a higher power to stop the violence

By Jamie Stover, Reporter, JStover@wfmz.com
Published On: Jul 13 2014 06:27:14 AM CDT

Following five recent homicides, Reading residents turned to a higher power in hopes of stopping the violence.

READING, Pa. -

Many Reading residents are calling on a higher power to end the violence on their streets.

Dozens of people gathered near Fifth and Penn streets Saturday afternoon for a prayer for peace rally. It comes on the heels of five homicides in the city last month.

The event was organized by Pastor Gerald Prentice of the Church of God in Mount Airy.

Prentice said a former Sunday school student of his was killed in the most recent shooting.

"I asked the Lord, 'what can we do?' And he said to me 'pray,''' Prentice said.

Also in attendance was Mayor Vaughn Spencer.

"Some of this stuff going on the last month is just crazy behavior," Spencer said.

Spencer called for a change in mindset among the city's youth.

"The only way they can solve a problem is by picking up a gun or stabbing someone. There has to be another message we can deliver to the people of Reading," Spencer said.

The crowd joined together in song and prayer, hoping to put a stop to the violence.

Those in attendance said their prayers are already being answered, after Jose Luis Negron turned himself in Friday in connection with the deadly shooting of Luis Rosario on June 21.

"We always have hope, that's who we are and what we do, is hope the Lord will do great things for this city," said Pastor Jose Mantalvo with the Power of the Word of God Church.