Ten days after a 15-year-old homicide defendant goes before a Racine County Circuit Court Commissioner for his preliminary hearing, Peacefest organizers are hoping the community comes out so residents can get to know one another and possibly prevent additional incidents like the one that left a 19-year-old dead.
Commissioner John Bjelajac set Tommy Canady’s bail at $500,000 Thursday while his family and the family of his alleged victim watched the short proceeding from the gallery.
Canady is accused of shooting 19-year-old Semar McClain in the head sometime on July 29 and then robbing him of some money and McClain’s gun after the two were seen discussing trading their respective weapons earlier in the day. Their guns were also linked to other reported shootings in the city that day, one of which injured a 15-year-old boy.
Just two days later, his complaint reads, Canady posted a rap song with lyrics that detailed how he shot McClain while McClain was “walking through the alley.” The lyrics also reportedly detail how McClain tried to run and how Canady also “snatched his gold.”
Racine County District Attorney Rich Chiapete said in court that Canady’s crime was cold, heartless, and heinous, according to a story on WISN 12 News.
McClain’s father, Jimmie Jones, told the news station that though he lost his son, Canady’s family is also suffering a loss.
“It’s a sad situation. As a dad, you know we lost Semar, but it’s another family that loses a 15-year-old kid. Dreams are being crushed. Both of these kids will not be able to have nothing accomplished in life,” he is quoted as saying.
Canady’s preliminary hearing is Aug. 14. Peacefest begins at noon on Aug. 24 at Quarry Park, and chief organizer Beth David confirmed with Racine County Eye that McClain’s death and Canady’s subsequent arrest is precisely what the event aims to help prevent in the future.
“(This is about) bringing the community together from all walks of life, no matter their economic background, their educational background, what street they live on, or anything else,” she said. “People need to meet each other, get to know each other, and unite together; it’s too easy to say, well, I live on this street so it doesn’t affect me. What happens in this city affects us all.”
Peacefest started as a small fundraiser for the Racine Police Department’s Community Oriented Policing unit has grown into a large event featuring 22 local organizations – including COP officers and K9 officer units from area law enforcement and sponsorships from locally owned businesses.
“(Peacefest) is to bring the community together – that is one of the main reasons – and to help raise money for COP,” David added. “But we have to bring people together and this is a great way to do it.”