KILLEEN, Texas — Hundreds of Killeen residents marched the streets Saturday to call for an end to violence around the city.
The march was a vision coming to life for organizer Bryan King who said the community would no longer tolerate so much violence in the city.
"It was important because the kids need a future. The kids need a choice to be able to live their lives," King said.
Killeen community members, city leaders and families affected by violent crime marched nearly two miles to take a stand.
The "Stop the Violence Take the Streets Back March" started at the Bridgewater Apartments and went through the areas hit hardest by recent violent crimes before finishing at the Killeen Community Center.
Those who couldn't walk passed out water along the route.
Keila Cruz, whose 19-year-old son was shot and killed in October, said she hopes the march will help get the city on the right track for the sake of families across Killeen.
"This isn't just about my son Jonathan. It's about every child in Killeen," Cruz said. "This violence needs to stop. We've had enough. Put the guns down."
Like Cruz, Danyell Martin was marching for a loved one lost to violent crime: Her sister Danydia, whose murder is still unsolved.
"Twenty-two years ago she was kidnapped and murdered in broad daylight from school. She was 7 years old, and they have yet to solve her murder," Martin said. "It's senseless. I love my community so we have to all come together and stand for something greater."
The event was a push for peace to inspire the next generation.
"This march is about stepping up. If our parents don't step up kids like me won't step up either," 12-year-old Micah Rollins said.
The trek was not easy and didn't happen in an instant, but with passion and perseverance, together they made it up the hill. March attendees said the city of Killeen can do so too. One small step at a time.
The march was the first of its kind in Killeen.
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