Vigil Planned for Family Dollar Homicide Victim, Community Urges Change

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Exactly two weeks ago, Channel 13 spoke with Barbara Perry regarding the gun violence in her neighborhood.

“Yes it concerns me because I have grandkids and you can`t control which way a bullet goes,” she said.

On Friday, Perry was the victim of gun violence. She was the unintended target of a shooting at the Family Dollar along University Avenue. Police have yet to make any arrests in the case.

Family members tell Channel 13 a vigil will be held for Perry at the Family Dollar on Monday at 7 p.m.

Members of the community feel the recent violent crime is another example of how Des Moines has been changing and not in a good way.

“What made me more upset was the fact that this lady wasn`t involved in gangs. Her10- year-old granddaughter wasn`t involved in gangs. They went to do something that everybody does every day," says Coy Bundy.

Bundy is an organizer of the program C.I.T.Y., which stands for “citizens emerge for triumphant youth.” The program focuses on self-betterment for inner city youth and young adults but organizers say they continue to run into a roadblock.

“People just don`t care and that`s dangerous within itself,” says Kenneth Cameron.

Cameron says the shooting death of Barbara Perry is eerily similar to the 1996 shooting death of Phyllis Davis in which he witnessed. Since that incident, he’s noticed the city start to change; parts of town that were once safe to be in are no longer safe.

As a result, the C.I.T.Y. program is petitioning for a citywide curfew for minors in hopes of cutting back on crime and other violent activity. The group has made a similar petition before, all with failed attempts to get it passed. The group will try again at the Sept. 26 City Council meeting.

“I really wish our city was like it once was and it’s not too late,” says Cameron. “We just have to begin to want it and make it happen.”

The group plans to hold a citywide prayer meeting for the victims on Monday, Sept. 12 at the Revival Center of Church of God in Christ. The event is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.