Loved ones gather for vigil to remember life of Savannah community activist

Updated: Jun. 22, 2018 at 10:49 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - One week ago, someone gunned down Shawntray Grant in his truck on Randolph Street in Savanah.

No arrests have been made, but Grant's loved ones are pulling together. In fact, hundreds of men, women, and children joined in a vigil Friday evening in honor of the community activist who was dedicated to ending gun violence.

People who knew Shawntray Grant best filled the streets to pay tribute to the gentle giant that most knew as "Puff."

"Puff was a father, community leader, activist, and a man in the church. This is someone who would motivate people when they didn't want to be motivated," said Detric Leggett.

Young men huddled and cried together, telling the group how Grant served as a father figure for them and was always there to show them the right way to go.

"There are more children with a better projectory for their existence as a result of this singular life. This young man who cared - sometimes more for others and their children - than himself and his children," said Rev. Leonard Small.

Grant was what many called a street soldier - unafraid to stand up and speak out against what was wrong. He led his bullhorn crew to crime scenes where they challenged the community to put down their guns and turn the criminals into police. Ironically, gun violence cut his young life short.

"It is a waste. How many more hundreds or thousands of children would've benefitted from this life? How many are in college today on their way to having a professional life because of this man? I am not grieving. I am mad," said Rev. Small.

A sentiment felt by so many as they try to come to grips with never seeing Grant again. They comforted each other and supported the grieving family through dance, spoken word, song, and prayers.

"I refuse to believe that nobody knows. Now, you can tell other people there if you want to, but we talk about things all the time, so I'm just asking, please, if someone has killed once, they'll kill again and if they have killed Puff, they will kill you, so we need your help to get these individuals off the streets," said Savannah Alderman, Van Johnson.

Through the hugs and tears, the group vowed to never forget Shawntray Grant and never put his bullhorn down as they continue to fight for peace and justice.

If you'd like to pay your respects, Grant's funeral will be held at Jonesville Baptist Church on Montgomery Street in Savannah on Wednesday, June 27, at 10 a.m.

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