Makeshift memorial draws many seeking answers, peace in Ferguson

By Kumasi Aaron, Reporter, weekend anchor, kaaron@wjxt.com
Published On: Aug 22 2014 06:48:15 PM EDT
Updated On: Aug 23 2014 08:06:01 AM EDT

In lieu of peaceful protests, the community of Ferguson is hoping that the peace will last. News4Jax's Kumasi Aaron flew to Ferguson and spoke with a familiar face. Ron Davis, who's son Jordan Davis was shot and killed earlier this year, made his way to Ferguson to pay his respects to Michael Brown.

FERGUSON, Mo. -

No Molotov cocktails were thrown, there were no shootings, no fires and no tear gas on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, Friday morning.

A sense of calm prevailed, even as protesters and police were present.

But the controversy over the shooting death of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer nearly two weeks ago is no closer to being settled.

We heard from many people that they feel an injustice has been done and there are many questions left unanswered, but they all agreed violence isn't the answer.

The street where Brown was killed is lined down the middle with roses and there's a memorial to Brown on the street.

Jeremiah Drake came to Ferguson for a family visit. He said he never expected to be standing where a teen just two years younger than he is was shot and killed.

“He was close to my age,” Drake said. “It makes me think, like, can I just walk around?”

Jim Dillon and his son, Carl, are from Atlanta and were in town for a wedding.

“It is important for me to be here because I'm a father of two sons who are about the same age as Michael Brown,” Jim Dillon said. “I think we accept a level of violence in this country that is ridiculously high and things are far too dangerous for our young men.”

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Carl Dillon said thinking what's happening in Ferguson doesn't affect other communities would be shortsighted.

“Whether or not it's happening near where I live it is still happening,” Carl Dillon said. “It is still happening to people, and it doesn't matter that I don't know the people. They still matter. They still deserve justice and the right to live like human beings.”

Kelli Webb lives just minutes away in St. Louis. She got tired of watching what was happening in her backyard on TV and wanted to come see it for herself.

“I wanted to come and say a prayer for the family,” Webb said. “I wanted to come and say a prayer for peace and this community, that his death wouldn't be in vain and that something positive would come out of this.”

Ron Davis is also hoping something positive will come out of the tragedy. His son, Jordan Davis, was shot and killed in 2012 after an argument over loud music at a Jacksonville gas station.

Davis was in Ferguson on Friday and saw the makeshift memorial to Michael Brown. It was very emotional for Davis, who told News4Jax he decided to make the trip when he heard about Brown's shooting death.

“This was an unarmed youth,” Davis said. “This was a young man that didn't have to die.”

Davis said visiting the memorial brought back memories of his own son's death.

“I see the flowers and the caps, and I remember what they left when Jordan died at the gas station,” Davis said. “They left these kind of mementos. People are pouring their hearts out. They just want to leave a piece of themselves.”

Davis placed a wristband honoring Jordan at the memorial for Michael Brown.

“I see the people out here and when they walk by, it's almost like it's a sacred place,” Davis said. “They walk slower. They talk a little quieter. … I believe he will rest in peace.”

Davis took park in a town hall meeting Friday, an opportunity for the community to ask questions about everything from police procedure to the next step for the community.

He encouraged the crowd to focus their passion on three things they'd like to see changed.

“When you want three specific things as a community you have to get together not only the people in this church, the people all in this community,” Davis said. “You must sit down and say, 'What are the three things that we want most for our community?'”

Davis will be spending five days in the Ferguson area and hopes to meet with Michael Brown's family at some point and attend Brown's funeral.