LANCASTER, S.C. – Residents in Lancaster are rallying together after two teens were murdered just weeks apart last month. 

“It’s okay to cry because that’s part of the problem, everybody wants to look so tough,” said one person.

Parents packed into a tight room inside a Lancaster youth center Tuesday night to discuss how the community can take back its streets after two teens were gunned down just days apart. Those who couldn’t find a seat stood, and many more listened from the hallway.

“I’m going to tell y’all (sic), I’m tired. I’m tired of seeing young, broken men dead,” said one Lancaster Police officer.

Just last month, 19-year-old Mar’Quise Evans was fatally shot as he sat in his car. Two weeks later, 17-year-old Allen Cooper, a standout basketball star at Lancaster High, was gunned down following a game. No arrests have been made in either murder.

The group is on an urgent mission to prevent more teens from dying. They hope to create afterschool programs, summer camps, and other safe places to show young people they have some place positive to be.

“We’re just trying to reach out to our youth,” said one concerned resident.