By Brianna Andrews, News 4 Jax

A Jacksonville community group of faith leaders, known as ICARE, is planning to hold a prayer vigil Monday morning to call for an end to violence in the city.

The group plans to gather at Historic Mount Zion AME Church on East Beaver Street.

ICARE will hold the prayer vigil the day after Mother’s Day to acknowledge grieving mothers who lost children to gun violence in the River City.

This group of faith leaders is working to put an end to senseless killings — a number that has dropped significantly.

According to News4JAX records, data shows a 45% decrease in homicides so far this year compared to the same time frame last year.

  • In 2024, so far there’s been 30 homicides in Duval County and 22 murders.
  • During the same time frame in 2023, there were 54 homicides and 36 murders.

ICARE gathered in mid-April at the Nehemiah Action Assembly at the Abyssinia Missionary Baptist Church. At that event, faith leaders called for Sheriff T.K. Waters to expand his strategies to stop street groups and gangs from committing violent crimes.

The group has requested to meet with the sheriff multiple times to discuss solutions that could bring some relief to the city, but they said Waters has not attended.

Waters released a statement following that meeting, stating in part:

I will not attend ICARE assemblies in the future, given my experience last year at the 2023 Nehemiah Action Assembly. That event did not provide an environment for constructive conversation, but rather was a staged display in which I was not permitted to fully answer questions beyond “yes” or “no” responses. The theatrics of this event were compounded by how I was systemically booed by the crowd on command by ICARE leaders and not permitted to a hold a microphone, seemingly to prevent me from responding beyond one-word replies.

-Sheriff T.K. Waters

Monday’s ICARE meeting starts at 9 a.m. It is open to the public.

View the original story here.