Teens’ tragic deaths resulted in a positive resolve

An editorial from The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINTON, W.Va. — Nine years ago today, shock reverberated across the Tri-State as residents awoke to learn that four teenagers — two from Huntington, one from Barboursville and one from South Point, Ohio — had been gunned down overnight. Two of them had attended a prom the night before.

The killings put an exclamation point on the reality that the Huntington region had become a hotbed of illicit drug activity and the crime associated with it. Investigators believe the slayings were drug-related, although no one has yet been charged and convicted in the teens’ deaths.

But while their murders have not been solved, the community has gone to work in hopes that factors leading to their deaths will be mitigated and that other individuals will not meet the same fate. And there has been progress.

Each year since that chilling moment on May 22, 2005, family members, friends and others in the community have held a memorial service at the site of the killings just outside a house at 1410 Charleston Ave. It’s an occasion for mourning, to be sure, for families of the slain teens as well as those connected with other people who have suffered violent deaths associated with crime. Organizers view it as important to keep the victims solidly in the public’s mind, to continue a public call that the quest for justice not end.

But the event, aptly called the Day of Hope, also serves as a statement of resolve, a community’s commitment to get involved in making neighborhoods safer and providing help to steer people away from circumstances that could lead to harm…

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