Montgomery activists ramp up efforts after young lives lost

Montgomery activists ramp up efforts after young lives lost
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)
(Source: WSFA 12 News)

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Outrage over the loss of young lives has prompted several Montgomery activists to take to streets, working to curb violence and fight crime.

On Wednesday, Montgomery police revealed that the recent death of a 16-year-old is now being investigated as a homicide.

Kourtney Richardson was killed Monday, March 28, 2016 in Gibbs Village.

MPD and Fire Medics responded to the 1900 block of Gibbs Drive around 5 p.m. after receiving a report that someone had been shot. At the scene, they found Richardson with gunshot wounds. He was transported to a local hospital with a report of non-life-threatening injuries, but his wounds proved to be fatal, and he later was pronounced dead.

Torian Hamilton went straight to the scene of the crime Wednesday night, standing near the spot where Richardson lost his life as she works to spark change in the community.

Hamilton prayed with families in Gibbs Village. Richardson's death came two weeks after the murder of 18-year-old Kimo Anthony in North Montgomery.

"We need to get our youth to understand that we got to call a truce among this. Parents, we need you to come out," she said. "They're speaking about how black lives matter. No, all lives matter. Let's stop being followers and become leaders."

Hamilton started a nonprofit called "Positive Parents have Power" several months after the murder of her son, Tim Hamilton. The 2013 shooting at Centennial Bar and Grill also claimed the lives of rapper Glenn "Doe B" Thomas and Troy University student Kimberle Johnson.

"Parents, whatever you instill inside the home, it will prevail," she said to those gathered Wednesday. "We need to come together as a community. I also want to put in the black community that it's not the law enforcement. We need to commit and join and collaborate with the law enforcement."

Hamilton hopes that by sharing her story, it will help keep other families from experiencing similar loss and pain. She issued a call to action directed at parents and young people.

"I need for the community, the black community especially, to come together. It's all about love," she added. "We need to call the truth among the youth and black on black crime needs to stop. If it takes for the parents and me to keep collaborating and keep pushing, I'm going to keep pushing this effort."

William Gailliard with Thinking Big Activities also spoke with children and teens Wednesday night at a local community center, delivering a message of empowerment. He also regularly visits classrooms to speak to youth in the area and even goes door to door sometimes. He tries to motivate kids to do better in school.

"The goal of my program is to reach kids where they are today and catch them regardless of where they are at this time to let them know that there's hope," he said. "They've got to think big and not think retaliation."

Gailliard has a deep empathy for victims and families impacted by violent crime. He says weapons and fighting are never a solution to the problem.

"A gang attempted to kill me. I'm glad that I can reach back and tell kids that they can make it. They don't have to stay in their community and not proceed to go on to college and bigger things in life," he added.

Thinking Big Activities will host a Pre-Mother's Day event May 1st at the Brunswick Bowling Center. All families are welcome, but it is specifically targeting single mothers raising boys.

Meanwhile, Montgomery police continue their investigation into the shooting death of 16-year-old Kourtney Richardson.

The circumstances surrounding the fatal incident remain under investigation, and no arrests have been made.

The killing of Kimo Anthony also remains under investigation. No arrests have been made.

Anyone with information in the cases is asked to call Central Alabama CrimeStoppers at 215-STOP, Secret Witness at 262-4000, or the Montgomery Police Department at 625-2831.

Copyright 2016 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.