Helping Hand Mission Band mourns member
Posted February 7, 2009 5:49 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:12 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — The Helping Hand Mission Marching Band, a youth-driven band for boys and girls, on Saturday mourned the loss of their second member in less than a year.
The group gathered for the funeral of drum master Joshua Jermaine Bryant, 19, who was gunned down Monday at the Sgt. Courtney T. Johnson Center in southeast Raleigh.
“He was a role model, one of our leaders,” Helping Hand Mission Director Sylvia Wiggins said. “We are just disillusioned…what a senseless act of violence.”
Police arrested Marcus Devon Medlin, 16, in the shooting. Police have said the two men "were acquainted with one another.”
Bryant’s murder comes eight months after one of the band’s drummers, 14-year-old Damien Dunn, was also shot and killed. Dunn died June 14 after being shot at a home in the Walnut Terrace community.
Fruikwan Dion Rashard Stewart was indicted on charges of involuntary manslaughter and possession of a firearm by a felon in the case.
The deaths have been rough for the group, which hopes to help at-risk children find their groove in life.
“We want to see them succeed – stay out of trouble. We have some good-hearted kids. These are not the ones always fighting and causing problems,” Wiggins said.
The band played at Bryant’s gravesite on Saturday. The drummers said they will continue to march on.
“It’s ain’t gonna kill us. It’s just going to make us stronger. We’re just gonna carry his spirit with us and finish doing our thing,” drummer Christopher Gilmore said.