Benton Harbor High students remember recent graduate killed in mass shooting during their Peace Day walk

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BENTON HARBOR, Mi. -- Students, parents, local leaders and activists all gathered at Benton Harbor High School Friday morning for their annual Peace Day walk-- asking the community to put an end to gun violence this Summer.

“It’s about the community coming together and we’re having fun," said student Brianna Spencer. 

“The gun violence, it hurts and it happens a lot, so I mean, I just want it to stop," said another student, Jaeden Meeks. "Anytime somebody shoots, it could’ve been me. That’s all I think about.”

Every year, on the final day of school, Benton Harbor students walk from the High School to Broadway Park, where they make a pledge to bring ninety days of peace to the city-- to help curb the violence.

But this year had added significance; eleven days ago, gunfire erupted at Ajay's Lounge-- a club on Pipestone Avenue in Benton Harbor-- and left six people injured and claimed the life of Marlon Bowman. He was just nineteen years old, a recent graduate of Benton Harbor High School, and planned to start college at Grand Valley State University this Fall. 

“He was one of ours," said Spencer. "He was one of our own. He didn’t too much. And it’s really important.”

Bowman himself lived close to Broadway Park, and Danny Jennings, a teacher at Benton Harbor High, remembered him fondly. 

“He was a great student, a great kid," Jennings said. "I’ve seen him walk past my house two hundred times. I’ve given him rides. I’ve coached him on the football team.”

Students chose to honor Bowman by reading a portion of an essay he wrote called What It Means to Be a Tiger.

Nevaeh Stone, a fellow student, read it out: “‘I hope to leave a legacy and set an example for my other classmates. I think that is what it means to be a tiger, like me.’"

She finished by thanking Bowman, and asked the walkers to raise a peace sign in his memory.

Despite his tragic death, those students hope his memory can double as a platform for peace.

Jennings said “Maybe something like this is something that can bring the positivity to them, and make them think, ‘you know what, there are better and brighter and more positive things to do’ other than things that could potentially claim a life.”

Public Safety Director Dan McGinnis was in attendance at the Peace Walk, and reiterated to ABC57 that they are still looking for the suspect or suspects who shot Marlon Bowman. He had previously told me that one way or another, charges will be brought forward in the mass shooting at Ajay's Lounge.

Anyone with information on the shooting is advised to call 269-384-9715 or leave a tip with Michiana Crime Stoppers at 574-235-9115.

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