CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Eugene Williams was the 58th homicide of 2019 for the City of Charlotte. His death became the statistic that tied the overall homicide rate for all of 2018.
On Tuesday, his family and friends held a vigil for him and begged that people wake up and unite in order to stop the violence.
"I mean really, it's ridiculous. it's ridiculous and it's sad," said Tobin Murphy, a friend of Williams. Murphy is also a member of the United Neighborhoods of Charlotte, an organization working towards a safer city.
On Tuesday, Murphy was at yet another vigil in his city. There were tears, prayers, candles, and balloons to honor Williams.
However, at the root of the vigil was one demand: unity.
"There are too many of our black kids dying for nothing," said Angelo Hancock, a friend of Williams.
The vigil included words spoken by Eugene's mother, other family members, and friends.
"When you pulled in the neighborhood, that was the first person you saw when you pulled in," Murphy said.
"I just loved Gene and he was family," said Robert, a friend of Williams.
His friends also demanded action, before others are killed on the streets of Charlotte.
"We're worried about other people hurting us, but we're hurting ourselves," said Alysha Hancock, a friend of Williams. "It doesn't have to be that way. We're supposed to love each other, not hurt each other."
Murphy called on parents to do a better job when raising their children. He asked parents to tell their kids when they are doing things wrong, and discipline them, to reach out to their neighbors, check in on them, and become a kinder community.
"We have to stop this violence," Murphy said. "We have to stop these senseless killings and we have to come together."
The message to the community comes as Charlotte surpassed last year's homicide numbers.
Tuesday morning, a woman was stabbed and killed -- becoming the 59th homicide victim in the city so far in 2019.
Now, Williams' friends are vowing to be the change in the community.
"They're cutting lives short and we have to stop it," said Hancock.