NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) — A local civil rights organization and others held a news conference asking for no retaliation following a recent shooting in North Charleston.
“I knew one day I would be on a platform like this, but I never thought it would be at the sacrifice of my son,” Keith Smalls, the father of 17-year-old Amarai Roper Smalls, said addressing the media at a news conference at Burns Elementary School on Friday, October 28 about his son’s death.
On October 26, officers responded to the 2600 block of Ranger Drive in reference to a body being discovered. Deputy Coroner Sheila Williams said the 17-year-old from North Charleston was shot and pronounced dead at the scene.
On Friday, North Charleston High and Garrett Academy administrators cancelled its varsity football game due to threats of violence following recent incidents. “The cancellation is [its] way of ensuring safety,” district officials said to News 2 in a statement.
The games was supposed to be held at the Attaway-Heinsohn stadium in North Charleston. Administrators say it will not be rescheduled.
At Friday’s news conference, the Smalls family said they made the decision to address the public after hearing retaliation claims and following the cancellation of the varsity game. “It’s an ugly situation that’s not going to go away overnight but we have to take a stand in our community, we have to be different,” Smalls added.
Smalls’ grandmother and father both spoke about moving forward.
“There’s no tension or anger from me to her,” Smalls said motioning to the suspect’s family. “I have a responsibility in my community, we all, men, black men, we have a responsibility in our community. Now isn’t the time for retaliation.”
“If you want to do something for these families and my family, come together,” Smalls’ grandmother said. “Support the family with love, that’s the best thing you can do for your friend.”
The Smalls’ family has also set up a Go Fund Me page to help cover the cost of the funeral expenses.
The family of Deomontae Wallace did not speak. His mother was present and was visibly upset. Bond was denied on charges of accessory after the fact at a hearing for the 17-year-old from North Charleston on Friday. A 15-year-old is also charged in connection with Smalls’ death.
Last month a 23-year-old Shadeed Price was shot and killed on the same street. The following day a 22-year-old man was wounded in a drive-by shooting on a street nearby.