A Syracuse mother has a message for the city's youth and their parents. Lepa Pullins is calling for peace on Syracuse's streets. She lost her 17-year-old son to violence last weekend. As our Iris St. Meran explains, she doesn't want another mother to experience the same unexpected loss.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- "It's time not to want to attack. It's not right," Lepa Pullins said.
Pullins is calling for no retaliation. She's speaking from a broken heart nearly a week after her 17-year-old son, Charles Pitts Jr., was stabbed to death shortly after leaving a party.
Police said earlier this week, the suspect, 16-year-old Gilberto Rodriguez, told them Pitts was staring at him during the party at the Clinton Plaza Apartments. Authorities said Rodriguez left the party shortly after Pitts, confronted him about staring and then Rodriguez allegedly stabbed Pitts. Pullins wants the city's youth to honor her son, who was known as "Chuck," by stopping the violence.
"If y'all know that Chuck Pitts that we know: That smile, that clown, that character, y'all kids finish school because that's what he was doing," Pullins urged.
She also urged parents to do more in their children's lives by being involved and knowing what kinds of things they are involved in. Pastor Darin Jaime said although Pullins is still grieving, she connected with Rodriguez's mother Friday.
Jaime explained, "They were able to embrace. And she was able to share with the mother that she doesn't hold her in accountability for the actions of her son. And in fact they were able to hug, embrace."
There were lots of hugs shared Friday during her address. Pullins could have kept silent, but by speaking out, she hopes her message of pain resonates through everyone.
"No one don't want to stand where I am standing right now today because I'd give anything to have my baby back," Pullins said.
Gilberto Rodriguez has been charged with second degree murder.