‘Stop the violence’ event in Beloit highlights need for justice for families impacted by gun violence

CITY OF BELOIT, Wis. – Community leaders and community members alike met at Riverside Park in Beloit Saturday evening, to discuss and highlight the need to end recent gun violence.

More than 50, including families of multiple gun violence victims, were in attendance.

We want to urge our community to work together, so we can get these murders solved and get justice for them,” said organizer Lexi Payton, whose cousin Chelsey was shot and killed in Beloit in October of 2020. “When she passed, it just felt like this was the only right thing to do – work together.”

Payton, along with co-organizer Vonnie Marshall, invited several community leaders including police Chief Andre Sayles and NAACP President Tia Johnson to speak. Payton says their ultimate goal is to reduce the amount of gun violence in the community, while also getting answers in Chelsey Payton’s death.

Chelsey was outgoing. She was the life of the party. In my opinion, everyone’s favorite cousin. That was Chelsey,” Payton said. “I wanted the leaders to come out, because I feel like if the leaders come out, we’ll follow them. We have to keep in mind that this is a community effort- both Beloit Police and the community. Not just a job for police, not just a job for the community. We’ve got to work together so we can get justice for them.”

Speakers also highlighted the death of 33-year-old Jordan Jefferson, who was killed in March. No arrests have been made for his murder.

“(Beloit residents) can know, if I give the Beloit Police Department this information, they used it, they were able to get these individuals off the streets and were able to successfully able to get a conviction on these individuals to make our neighborhood safe,” said Chief Andre Sayles.  “So we can have kids riding bikes and we don’t have to worry about stray bullets hitting them. So we can have kids down at the lagoon fishing, and we don’t have to worry about violence happening at the park.”

“Think before you act,” Payton advised community members turning to gun violence. “Because you could be taking away a life so many others. You’re taking away so much for that one moment of anger.”