Dozens of Knoxville pastors and community members held a prayer rally at Austin East High School today for a 14-year-old boy who was shot near that school yesterday.
The participants said the prayer rally was an attempt to intercede for the youth and violence within the area.
One of the rally's organizers, Talani Stuart-Lee, knows first hand about the violence in East Knoxville. Two years ago, Stuart-Lee's son was murdered. Now she's on a mission to stop youth violence by helping teens realize the value of their lives.
"If the kids don't have hope, and they don't respect themselves and value their own lives," Stuart-Lee said, "there's no way in the world they're going to value one another."
The 14-year-old victim is recovering after being shot Friday. Knoxville Police identified him as Lashwan Pierson and confirmed he was a student at Vine Middle School. Pierson was transported to UT Medical Center yesterday with serious injuries.
Officers said there are several witnesses who saw the crime, and they are providing leads KPD said it's looking into those leads, but is not releasing any more information at this time.