May 23, 2004 Despite the day-long threat of another heavy downpour more than 100 people turned out to either run in or give support to The Run to Stop Violence Sunday afternoon.
The event, sponsored by Mothers Against Guns, was held in memory of 19-year-old Jason Carroll who was shot and killed on May 23, 2000.
A gun amnesty was also announced earlier in the week to coincide with the activity.
Youngsters participating in the race were asked to sign pledges stating they would not bring a gun to school, use a gun to settle a dispute or otherwise engage in violent behavior.
Celia Carroll, mother of the slain teenager, said after the 2-mile run, she believed the heightened awareness brought about by having the run on the Waterfront would cause the "entry to illegal guns to be closed."
Carroll and her husband James Carroll III were on hand to give out trophies to the top three winners in several categories.
In speaking to the participants, who gathered in Emancipation Garden after the run, Celia Carroll called for a change of heart. "We must chose life and not death," she said. "Let us be compassionate and loving."
She called upon parents to pay attention to what their children are doing. "Our children need us."
Twenty-two students from Addelita Cancryn Junior High School participated to win the trophy, given to the school with the most participants.
None of the six or seven students interviewed said they knew anyone who carried a gun to school.
Luis Smith, 18, a senior at Charlotte Amalie High School said he didn't know of anyone who carried a gun to school, either. Smith, a regular runner, was concerned that he hadn't completed the race in his usual swift time of about six-minute miles.
Another group of students from Cancryn walked the two-mile course that ran through Frenchtown.
Recently sworn-in deputy Police Commissioner, James McCall was on hand to receive any guns that might be turned in, with no questions asked, during the three-hour amnesty. McCall was able to accept four firearms from Alex Randall, Water Island resident and WSTA's Good News Guy.
Randall showed up toting four plastic toy guns that he said his children had volunteered to turn in.
Randall was clear that he had not purchased the toys for his children. "They found them at the dump," he said.
McCall described in detail what the brightly colored toys replicated. One, he said, was a fully automatic M-16, capable of firing 1500 rounds in a couple of seconds.
"It'll cut a person in half," Randall said.
"We are living in dangerous times," Celia Carroll said at the after-run ceremony. "Take this run very, very seriously. If you have a friend who has a gun … take a stand. When my son left our home to go out and get a job, he never came back." Caroll said that should never happen to anyone again.
Money raised Sunday and sponsorship from four local law firms will be used to provide a scholarship to the University of the Virgin Islands, where Jason had complete his first year of college just before he was killed.
Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.