NEWBERRY COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) - In the wake of recent crime that’s taken place in Newberry County, a local pastor held a day of prayer, with a goal to bring the community together to take a stand against violence.
Pastor Abraham Salley of St. John Baptist Church in Newberry asked city leaders, law enforcement, and all walks of faith to join in an hour-long prayer outside Memorial Park Sunday afternoon in downtown Newberry.
“The Newberry county has had a high rise of violence, killing shooting, of young people and so we felt this would be important to bring the community together to allow them to understand that violence has no place in our community,” Salley said. “We should be able to go to parties, we should be able to go to outings and not worry about whether we are going to make it back home.”
Data provided to WIS by the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office and the Newberry Police Department show a spike in the total number of homicides in Newberry for 2019.
According to the data, there have been at least 6 homicides in Newberry for 2019. Four out of six cases are related to gun violence.
In 2018, the Newberry Police Department said it only had one homicide, and none were reported for the Sheriff’s Office.
Newberry Police Department:
- 2017: 2 total homicides; 1 involved a gun
- 2018: 1 total homicide; none involved a gun
- 2019: 2 total homicides; 1 involved a gun
Newberry County Sheriff’s Office:
- 2017- No homicides
- 2018- No homicides
- 2019- 4 total homicides; 3 involved a gun
Margaret Singley attended the prayer as an advocate for her son, Jared Singley, who died from a gunshot this past October, after attending a party at the Hartford Community Center.
“My son, 38-year-old son, was killed. A senseless act of violence that left five children fatherless,” Margaret Singley said. “My heart is broken I cry every day because I only had my son for 38 years. And it hurts me to walk into that house and realize that he is never going to come back in that house or hug me. He was just snatched away from me.”
According to Newberry County Sheriff’s Office, there have been at least two arrests in Singley’s case.
Sheriff Foster said more arrests are anticipated as the investigation continues.
“Newberry is not accustomed to this. We went a long time without having violence like this,” Sheriff Foster said. “We just got to get back to some fundamentals. That we’ve missed for so long. We need to get back into church.”
Through prayer, Newberry leaders are hoping for a change.
“We’re praying, hope that someone will hear the prayer, see the hurt in the family’s heart, someone will understand the cause that we are standing here for and change their life realizing that this is not the life we wanted to live, and we don’t have to answer violence with violence,” Salley said.