'Stand Up To Violence' rally honors slain 20-year-old bodega worker
A rally was held Friday night for the 20-year-old bodega worker who was shot and killed while on the job in Williamsbridge.
It was organized by the group Stand Up To Violence, which works to get guns off the street. Chanting "Guns down, lives up," demonstrators called for an end to violence.
As News 12 has reported, Mohammed Qutaish was behind the counter of a White Plains Road bodega when he was killed.
The bodega reopened just in time for Friday's rally.
After a shooting, the organization--which is partnered with NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi--will typically go to the hospital and speak with the victim and their family to talk them out of retaliation.
They also have what they call "violence interrupters" who previously lived the street life to canvas the area, identify high-risk youth, and talk them out of living a life of crime.
Police have arrested a suspect in the case, identified as Adrien Topping. Witnesses tell News 12 that the argument started when Topping's girlfriend wanted loose cigarettes but Qutaish refused to sell her any.
Surveillance video shows Topping opening fire. He's charged with murder, manslaughter, and criminal possession of a weapon. Now SUTV says it is present to reduce any tension in the neighborhood.
"My job is to alert the community to let them know that the community can be safe. I actually grew up in this community right across the street 30 years ago and this is my community so we're out here tonight to let the community know that we are better together," said SUTV Community Outreach Director Pastor Jay Gooding.
The rally ended with prayers for peace in the area.