Despite the rain, friends and family gathered Monday night to remember 21-year-old Noah King who was fatally shot on Jan. 15 in the parking lot of Rodger Young Park.

The neighborhood and areas nearby have been the site of frequent violence, once again sparking conversations about what it will take to revitalize that community.

Matt Mathias was at the Take Back the Site vigil and spoke with community leaders who want to turn things around.

It was a somber evening at Rodger Young Park as family and friends wondered what it would take to stop the violence.

As rain fell Monday evening, family, friends, and the community mourned and remembered the life of Noah King, who was killed on Jan. 15 in Rodger Young Park.

“Noah was a red-head when he was born, so we knew he was going to have a fun, fiery personality,” said Holli Walker, mother of Noah King. “He was always a jokester, fun, witty, and made us laugh,” said Walker.

His accused killer, 25-year-old Michael Ochrang, is facing several charges, including third-degree murder.

Police say the shooting happened during an argument. 

The neighborhood along Buffalo Road has been plagued by violence and community leaders are starting to take notice.

“We know a common thing about poverty is crime. It’s a symptom of poverty, and we’ve had far too much crime in this neighborhood,” said Gary Horton, coordinator, Eastside Grassroots Coalition.

Horton says the Buffalo Road Revitalization Project is an effort to turn tragedy into triumph through human capital investment as he looks to offer six after school programs at the Burton School.

But Horton says the city needs to do more.

“We need a neighborhood plan to invest in all of our neighborhoods; not just downtown, not just the waterfront, not just on college campuses. The people of Erie and these inner-city neighborhoods deserve to know that our tax dollars can be equitably spent,” said Horton.

Horton knows that it’s not something that can change overnight, but says we need to start somewhere.

“It may not be instant change, but we deserve instant action,” Horton stated.

Horton hopes that with investments into the community, people may begin to feel hope once more.