ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The death of 23-year-old Brandon wright has shocked many in the community, including his best friend Byron Emerson, who says the tragedy has yet to set in.
"I’ve known Brandon since I was 3, 4 years old, since i could start to remember things. We grew up together we did everything together. Family trips, everything. He would give you the shirt off of his back. He was, he is a standup guy”, says Emerson
Emerson, along with wright's family and friends joined dozens of people during a prayer walk in downtown Rockford. The group marched through the streets, wanting an end to the recent violence that's plagued the Stateline.
"This is something that runs very deep in anyone’s family when there's a loss of life…especially the loss of a young male victim with a bright, bright future. We're all devastated at this point in time”, says family friend William Stokes.
More than 80 people came to the event, sharing stories about the young man they describe as funny, bright and family oriented. The group prayed before and after the walk, echoing a message: the violence in Rockford has gone too far.
Emerson says, "We also want to make sure we raise awareness because, you know, we're used to things like this happening in bad parts of town, but this is an example that all of Rockford can be bad and things need to change."
Dan Petrie, who organized the event says that this is only the beginning for Rockford to speak out against crime, and hopes people will realize they can make a difference in keeping the community safe.