December 10, 2023

A man was shot and killed late Sunday night, police say, after a community block party in northeast Oklahoma City. This comes a month after organizers launched a gun violence reduction program, and in a location where numerous organizers anchored community-building businesses and events.

Several police officers were nearby when they heard shots just after 11 p.m. Sunday, and “rushed over” to the corner of NE 23 and Rhode Island Avenue to find a person lying on the ground wounded by gunfire. Master Sgt. Gary Knight said there was a big crowd in the area, and police believe an argument led to the shooting, according to a news release.

The victim’s name has not been released, but he was pronounced dead at the hospital. There have been no arrests made in the case.

The scene of the shooting is on the corner of the EastPoint development, which features businesses like Eastside Pizza House, The Market at Eastpoint, The Essential Green and Scrambl’d.

Shooting took place near Kindred Spirits ‘Sunset Sundays’ event

Police said the shooting took place after what looked like a block party.

Jabee Williams, owner of nearby restaurants Eastside Pizza House and Scrambl’d, said the crowd was in the area for the weekly “Sunset Sundays” event at Kindred Spirits. Williams called it a “peaceful” event featuring live music.

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The shooting was unrelated to the crowd gathered for the event, Williams said.

Kindred Spirits, located on the back of the Eastpoint development at 1726 NE 23, is a patio bar and gathering space. The business announced on Facebook the “Sunset Sundays” event will be suspended as they “evaluate the best way to protect and preserve the spaces we have all worked so hard to cultivate.”

Shooting was traumatizing for community working to cultivate ‘sacred space,’ reduce violence

Williams said he left the event just before the shooting happened, but that the community “was disrespected and traumatized.”

“We’ve been working for years to build up a peaceful and sacred space, and for someone to break that peace with a gun, I’m highly upset … We want people to stop shooting and start living,” Williams said.

LiveFree OKC Executive Director Jabee Williams, City Councilwoman Nikki Nice, and LiveFree USA Executive Director Rev. Mike McBride speak with reporters during a conference Aug. 3, 2023 at EastPoint in Oklahoma City.

LiveFree OKC Executive Director Jabee Williams, City Councilwoman Nikki Nice, and LiveFree USA Executive Director Rev. Mike McBride speak with reporters during a conference Aug. 3, 2023 at EastPoint in Oklahoma City.

Just last month, Williams launched LiveFree OKC, a program dedicated to reducing gun violence in Oklahoma City.

Williams, executive director of the program, said LiveFree aims to “break the cycle of violence” through solutions outside of further incarceration.

“We can’t just push people doing violence like this further into the shadows like we’ve done for decades,” Williams said. “Gun violence is an affliction and public health crisis, but we also can’t incarcerate our way out of this problem.”

Anyone with information on the shooting is encouraged to call the Homicide Tip Line at 405-297-1200.

More: LiveFree OKC, led by Jabee, aims to address root causes of the cycle of gun violence

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Northeast OKC feels traumatized by deadly shooting near peaceful event

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