Vigil Held For Murder Victim

By: Gary Smollen Email
By: Gary Smollen Email

Family and friends of 21-year-old Jacquez Lewis, who was shot to death Friday night, came together Sunday afternoon to pray for peace.

Jacquez’s father spoke to the crowd gathered outside of the Lothrop Social Hall at 24th and Lothrop, where his son and three others were shot during a party. Organizers of the vigil hope to bring peace to the neighborhood.

“We say to these neighbors, you're not alone,” said vigil organizer Dave Gehrls. “We're in this together. This city is in this together. We're standing together against violence. When we stand together against violence and we work together, we can see violence go down.”

The other victims, 14-year-old Aleeah Whitcomb, 20-year-old Tahfahn Dennis and 22-year-old Omar Williams, are expected to survive. Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call police at 402-444-7867.

Lewis wasn't turning his life around because he didn't have to. He was attending Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs and was enlisting in the United States Marine Corps.

Jacquez was celebrating when a gunman fired shots into the crowd at the Social Hall around 11:45 p.m., injuring three and making Lewis the year's first homicide victim.

At the end of a memorial service on Saturday, family and friends of Lewis let go of the balloons they were holding as a tribute to the young man who would never get to realize his potential, never get to live his dreams.

"We always say things like wrong time, but I think he was at the right spot when evil came and interrupted his life," says James Washington, Jacquez's uncle. "He was trying to enjoy himself and just be social."

According to one person who was there, the shooter opened the door and began firing. Four were hit by the rounds, Lewis was the only one to die. "He always was in school, his mind stayed focused on, not the streets and stuff like that, but actually trying to make a career," says Washington.

The family is turning to each other for support. The prayers this night were for the community to end the violence, for everyone to be more like Jacquez Lewis.

"He always looked after his little brother, he always tried to be an example for his little brother," says Washington. "He never was involved in any gangs or anything like that."

A check of court and police records turned up no record or report with Jacquez Lewis' name on it. His father tells Channel 6 News Jacquez was going to use his Marine Corps money to finish school.

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