Local News

Soldier's death prompts call for end to southeast Raleigh violence

Posted August 3, 2011 10:21 p.m. EDT

— One year after a soldier was gunned down on a porch in southeast Raleigh, his family and friends gathered Wednesday night to hold a vigil in his honor and to call for an end to violence in the neighborhood.

Ezekiel Abanishe "Zeke" Crowder, 30, was sitting outside a home on Hay Lane on Aug. 3, 2010, when someone walked up to the house and opened fire, police said. Crowder died and another man was wounded.

Police haven't charged anyone in the shooting.

"The kids, they still ask. My 5-year-old still asks, 'Is he coming back?' So, it's been hard," Crowder's widow, Shelonda Crowder, said Wednesday. "I want whoever did it to be found, but it's still going to be a loss for us."

Family and friends marked the anniversary of his death by lighting candles, saying prayers and releasing balloons into the sky. They said they wanted to make sure his life isn't forgotten and to send a message to the community that they won't stand for violence.

"It starts with us making a statement that we are tired and it's time for a change, and we're not going to stop until somebody hears our voice," Rev. Diana Powell said.

Homicides in southeast Raleigh have declined in recent years, from a high of 21 in 2008 to seven in 2009 and three last year. Police credit increased patrols and better community programs and communication for the drop.

A group called Project Richochet helped organize the vigil. Andrew Cann said the group works to keep youth from going down a criminal path.

"It's never going to be an easy job, but it's worthwhile," Cann said.

Anyone with information about Crowder's shooting is asked to call the Raleigh Police Department at 919-996-3555 or Crime Stoppers at 919-834-4357.