STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) – A pair of Stockton faith leaders have taken to the streets in response to the violence in the city.
Thursday, pastor Kevin White and Brian Howes stood at the corner of California and East Worth streets, where a 22-year-old man was shot and killed on Feb. 19.
“The Bible, the Old Testament, says that the ground is cursed by the shedding of innocent blood, and one day I just thought, ‘Wow, Stockton is a really cursed place, if that’s the case,'” White said. “But the New Testament says that the blood of Jesus breaks the curse over us.”
Every Thursday since 2014, they visit the site of the latest Stockton homicide. On weeks without violence, they meet to pray for continued peace.
Last Thursday, the pair were at Faklis Park in Stockton, where 18-year-old Isaias Lopez was shot and killed on Feb. 11.
For White, it’s personal in more ways than one.
“My own family has been hit by homicide before, and so I’ve been on that side and I know what it’s like,” White explained.
There have been 11 homicides in Stockton since the beginning of the year, eight of which have happened this month.
“It’s distressing because it’s not just that one person who was killed,” White said. “It’s that one family and area of the community has been shattered, and the damage is widespread, and that’s heartbreaking to see.”
“I actually come in from Sacramento,” Howes explained. “And this is my mission field that He’s called me to, and I want to be a part of the lasting change that God’s bringing about in this city. So for me, it’s worth the trip, to be here to pray over the city to pray over the people.”
The duo shows up at the sites to pray and show their concern.
“Sometimes we get to interact with the family and the friends of people that are coming here to grieve,” Howes told FOX40. “And it’s priceless. It’s priceless.”
White and Howes said they plan to visit this area of Santa Paula Way next Thursday, where a 19-year-old man was shot and killed, and two others were injured Wednesday night.
“We just beg God to intervene and to stop the violence,” White said. “Not just that people would stop being killed but that people would stop trying to kill each other that’s what real peace would look like.”