DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) — Loved ones and supporters from the Decatur community and beyond held a vigil on Thursday night for the man who was shot and killed by police last week.
Decatur Police killed 39-year-old Stephen Perkins in the early morning hours of September 29th following issues surrounding a vehicle repossession. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) said Perkins died in a nearby medical facility after he pointed a weapon toward an officer, and the officer shot at him.
People in the River City community are mourning the loss of Perkins, who they described as a father, a son, and a family man who lost his life too soon in a situation they believe should have been avoided.
Hundreds of people from the community gathered with flashlights in hand outside the police department and city hall to remember Perkins.
Dozens could be seen with shirts and signs reading “Justice for Steve” as they came together in support of his family, with the community also joining together in prayer. Perkins leaves behind a large family that includes his wife and two daughters who were in attendance for the vigil.
Kami Whorton, who lived just down the road from Perkins, said she never imagined an incident like this would occur in her community.
“I think it’s just important for us to show our love, support and unity for this family and lift them up and let them know that as a community we love them and we’re praying for them for justice for his life,” Whorton said. “It’s very disheartening that this happened so locally. I never thought this would happen here in Decatur, Alabama.”
Wheeler Chapel Church Pastor Thomas Davis said the Perkins family always had their doors open to the community and this is devastating.
“They didn’t deserve this, but you can fix it, and I say in the words as Dr. Martin Luther King said at one time ‘let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream,'” Davis said.
The community said they want accountability and transparency in the investigation and are asking for law enforcement to act swiftly. Some in Decatur said they would continue to protest on behalf of the Perkins family with the intent to keep the incident in the public spotlight.
They added that they will not allow this situation to go away until they feel the incident has been handled in a transparent manner and justice is served.