A prayer service will be held Wednesday evening in the wake of a surge in gun violence that claimed the lives of five people earlier this week.
The event will take place at 7 p.m. at Antioch Baptist Church, 1100 S.E. Washington.
Rev. T.D. Hicks said he is calling on other churches and city officials to participate.
The service provides an opportunity for the community to come together to pray and to say the shootings and killings have to stop, he said.
On Sunday, four people died in a shooting in the 4100 block of S.W. 28th. According to the Topeka Police Department, Joshua Gueary, 25, used a handgun to kill his brother Larry Gueary, 29, and Jesus Galvez, 64, and Soren Galvez, 20. Another man was injured but is expected to recover. Joshua Gueary then fatally shot himself.
On Monday, Stephen Snyder, 36, was slain in the 3300 block of S.W. 33rd. Anthony Darcy, 81, was arrested in connection with the homicide.
Shampayne Lloyd helped organize Wednesday’s prayer service.
“It’s bringing fear to our community,” she said of the recent killings.
Lloyd knew two people who were slain this year in Topeka. Her 7-year-old grandson knows three people who have been shot.
It negatively affects him, Lloyd said, adding that she has had to have conversations with him that she shouldn’t have to at such an early age.
Escalating violence has prompted Lloyd to stand up and face the problem. People need to know there are solutions and that it is OK to reach out for help when they encounter conflicts. There also are local mental health resources, such as Valeo Behavioral Health Care, she said.
Lloyd, who knows some members of the Gueary family, said Sunday’s shooting has been very upsetting for them. Josh wasn’t a gang member — he was “a good dude,” Lloyd said. Had he received the help he needed, this wouldn’t have happened, she said.
She hopes Wednesday’s event will facilitate a community dialogue.
Hicks, who also is a chaplain for the Topeka Police Department, said the service is a way to be proactive, especially as summer is approaching and violence tends to increase with warmer weather.