Shooting victim's family asks for unity in North Charleston

Shooting victim's family asks for unity in North Charleston
Source: GoFundMe

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - There's new reaction from the family of a young man who was shot and killed this week, after threats of violence led to the cancellation of a high school football game in North Charleston.

The National Action Network said it believed it could be in fear of retaliation from a shooting in which a 17-year old was killed earlier this week.

The Friday Night Lights remained off Friday night at Attaway-Heinsohn Field where North Charleston was set to play Garrett Academy.

"An actual event that you go to to have fun and have enjoyment," Keith Smalls said. "I think at this time you should be happy to have that event to go to so you can be happy and say thank God that I'm living, I'm thankful we're alive."

Keith Smalls is the father of Amarai Smalls, the 17-year old who was found dead behind a home on Ranger Drive Wednesday.

Garrett Academy's principal said the threat of violence caused them to cancel the game, just hours before kickoff.

This decision caused NAN, NAACP and a local chaplain to hold a rally pushing for young people to stop the violence.

"We don't need any more killing," NAN North Charleston president Charles Tyler said. "We need to come together as one."

Family members from both the shooting victim and the suspects involved also came together as a sign of unity.

"It's so sad that we have to go through this again and again with the families," Ellen Feaster-Smalls said. She is the grandmother of the shooting victim.

"We needed to bring the two families together to talk to the community," NAN North Charleston member Elder James Johnson said. "These families don't want any retaliation; they don't want any more crime."

Keith Smalls said he wishes he had more time with his son.

"I was incarcerated for 15 years. I was only home a year," he said. "I'm accountable. I'm responsible in the sense that I kind of helped lay the framework for what's going on in our communities. We have to take a stand in our community. We have to be different. You know better, you do better and we know better than this."

The families said they hope it does not take another tragedy and more hurt for change in North Charleston.

These groups will be holding a unity rally on Monday at 11 a.m. at Marion Square downtown. They are inviting anyone who would like to pray and come together as a community, before the Michael Slager and Dylann Roof trials. They want to show just how strong Charleston truly is.

For ways to help the Smalls family raise funds for Amarai's funeral costs, you can donate via their GoFundMe page.

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