Philadelphia community holds prayer walk to call for end to gun violence: 'We're all here for a purpose'

A Philadelphia faith-based community marched through the streets on a sultry Friday evening to call for an end to gun violence that's plaguing the city. 

The prayer walk was organized by Pastor Richard Smith from the Faith Assembly Church in Frankford and began outside St. Thomas United Methodist Church on Tackawanna Street. 

Participants - which included faith leaders, police officers, and children - stopped at every block on their route to pray for an end to senseless gun violence. 

"The trust that the community has with us as faith-based leaders and faith-based community, we can bring a sense of unity and peace," Rev. Dr. Kristopher Halsey said. 

Neighbors along the prayer walk route were drawn from their drawn from their homes when the groups call to end gun violence echoed down their block. 

Latisha Ray, a neighbor, endorsed the group's efforts, adding that she hears gunshots "almost every night." 

Far too often in Philadelphia, gun violence effects teens and children. Kendyl Forrest, 14, participated in Friday's walk because she can see friends and family in the young lives being cut down. 

"I think the gun violence has to stop because it's killing people that are my age, and it's really sad because it could be one of my friends or family members," Forrest said.

According to the latest data from the Philadelphia Police Department, there have been 210 homicides in the city so far this year. That number is down 18% from this point last year. 

"We need to spread the word and let people know that it's not all about revenge, you don't have to fight, we're all here for a purpose," 12-year-old James Bennett said.