ST. LOUIS, MO - A St. Louis County church hopes its dramatic display will help put a dent in the amount of deadly violence in the St. Louis area. Pastor E.G. Shields, Sr. places crosses on the church lawn of Mt. Beulah Missionary Baptist Church each December. The church places a cross in the ground for each victim of homicide in St. Louis City and St. Louis County in 2017.
“On an average of 1.3 days, there’s a homicide committed in the St. Louis area and I think that’s totally unacceptable,” said Shields.
As of Saturday, there were 193 crosses at Mt. Beulah representing each murder in St. Louis City this year and 83 crosses for all the murders in St. Louis County and area municipalities.
Lanna Green brought a poster board with photos of her son Andrew to the display of crosses. He was murdered in April. No arrests have been made. Green said CrimeStoppers is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
“There’s more hate going on than us loving one another,” said Green. She hopes the crosses will send a message that violence needs to stop.
“Get out and get a job. Look for a job like we did,” said Green. “Settle down and change your lifestyle like everybody else is doing.”
Shields says the stakes are too high to do nothing.
“We cannot give up on our children. We must keep trying,” said Shields. “Be more proactive. Do what you can to try and save your community and save our children.”