ROCK ISLAND, Illinois- A Rock Island family familiar with gun violence has advice to other communities trying to lower the crime rate.
Darwin Gray and Leann Quinn are anti-gun violence activists. Gray’s brother, De’Mar Bester was gunned down in Rock Island three years ago.
No one’s ever been arrested in that cast. Bester’s family pushed to make the community safer by adding cameras and lights to parts of the neighborhood.The work doesn’t stop there.
” It has to be about action and then consistency, ” says Gray. His anti- gun violence activism started three years ago when his older brother, De’Mar Bester was fatally gun downed in a Rock Island neighborhood.
Ever since, his family has made it their goal to prevent deaths like that from happening. They’ve done so with their petition for more lights and cameras in certain areas in Rock Island.
“This was about not having a repeat of, a repeat tragedy,” shares Gray.This effort started in 2017. Mayor of Rock Island Mike Thoms says it’s helped the city’s efforts to decrease violence saying,”my golly the crime rate has dropped. Our major crime rate in the city of Rock Island has dropped year over year for a good number of years.”
De’Mar Bester’s family says the most recent mass shootings have solidified their determination to do more. Leann Quinn, Gray’s wife says she was in Texas when the El Paso shooting happened. “When the shooting happened i was in Killeen, Texas and it was so scary to think like it could’ve happened where we were at.” Both Quinn and Gray say that at this point, its going to be up to the community and country to push for a change and keep other’s safe. Gray says, “there is no immediate cure you know, but its about being consistent, staying relentless, not being afraid to where ever you live at and speak to the people.”
Gray says they’re still fighting for justice and is asking the community to come forward with any information regarding his brother’s killer. They are scheduled to meet with Mayor Thoms on August 23rd to discuss where else to implement lights and cameras.