'We need to put the guns down:' Family, friends remember slain Durham 7-year-old
Posted June 8
Updated June 9
Durham, N.C. — Dozens of friends, family and Durham community members met near the Tokyo Express restaurant on Guess Road Thursday night to honor the life and memory of 7 year-old Kamari Munerlyn.
Murnerlyn's father and mother watched in tears as the boy's grandmother, Lisa Gerald, addressed the crowd four days after Kamari's shooting death.
"God knows I will miss my only grandson," Gerald said. "The violence has to stop. It has to stop. Because if it doesn't stop, there will be nothing left of us. Nothing."
Munerlyn, who was a first-grader at Eastway Elementary School, was killed in a shooting on Sunday around 5 p.m. a little over a mile from the vigil location. The boy's funeral is scheduled for Monday.
The SUV Kamari was riding in was shot into multiple times near Hillandale Road and Peppertree Street, police said.
Police arrested 28-year-old Devon Fowler and charged him with murder and conspiracy. Who Fowler may have conspired with is still unclear, according to authorities. Fowler is the the only one who has been arrested so far.
Sidney Brodie started making a memorial quilt a 1994, adding a patch for every homicide victim in Durham. He added the 694th patch to represent Munerlyn.
"It's the Durham homicide and victims of violent death memorial quilt," he said. "You're never ready for the children. You're never ready for the children."
"Nobody should have to go through and watch that. Nobody."
Munerlyn's family believe the shooting was gang-related and that the boyfriend of the boy's mother was the intended target. Police have said the shooting was not random.
Bull City United, Durham County's violence reduction initiative, is trying to help the family and make sure the tragedy doesn't cause a ripple effect.
“Anytime there is a shooting in Durham we are usually contacted," Dorel Clayton said. "Even though we have a specific target area, we look into all shootings, trying to prevent retaliation."
“This was a little different because I’m a father also. And for an innocent child to be killed, it is absolutely unacceptable.”
Clayton said when a child is killed, the tragedy affects the entire community.
“We need everyone to put the guns down. We need everybody to stop the violence.”