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Race Against Gun Violence Raises Awareness, Scholarship Funds

May 22, 2006 – A little after 4 p.m. Sunday, Celia Carroll stood before an anxious group of runners, walkers, joggers and strollers that were lined up on the waterfront on St. Thomas. "We have a purpose today," she said. "We have lost too many of our young people. Repeat after me, 'I will live – I have a purpose – I will fulfill my purpose."
With that the group charged off down the waterfront for the third annual Walk/Run to Stop Gun Violence. Celia Carroll is the executive director of Mothers Against Guns, Inc. She started the local branch of the organization after she and James Carroll lost their son, Jason Carroll, to gun violence six years ago. The race raises moneys for the Jason Carroll Memorial fund, which offers university scholarships for local high school student.
May 23, the day Jason Carroll was shot, has been proclaimed by Gov. Charles W. Turnbull as Jason Carroll Memorial Day and Victims of Violent Crimes Day. Celia Carroll said a memorial ceremony will take place Tuesday at Emancipation Garden at noon.
Though there were many other events Sunday, including the 2006 Royak Regatta, that didn't stop the almost 200 participants who ran happily through late day heat and a rain shower to complete the two-mile lap from the Coast Guard Dock, through Frenchtown to Addelita Cancryn Junior High School and back.
Tanya Schulterbrandt held 1-year-old Jordan, who won youngest entrant in the race. She led a group of 31 from the Agape Seventh Day Adventist Church and said, "We had run earlier in the Jogger Jam, and we decided then that this would be a good cause."
Cancryn teacher Seymour Davis (who finished third in his age group) brought a group of 26 students. "I wish more schools were here today," he said. "This is especially important to me because I was there when Jason was killed on Main Street. I heard the shot, and I'll never forget it."
Carroll took the stage at Emancipation Garden where race participants gathered. "I am grateful for each and every one of you here today," she said. "You are making a statement. We are getting tough. We are reclaiming our schools."
"We are the people," she said. "We will bring peace back into this community."
Carroll said a young man came up to her in a grocery store the other day. "He said 'all we need is someone to be there for us.' These kids need love," she said, "or they will wind up growing into the wrong person."
Carroll held the audience rapt when she said, "Moms, the worst thing that can happen is to get a phone call that your son has been murdered. I felt Jason's pain then; I feel it now. It's not about me now – it's about getting the message."
The message came through loud and clear.
Colette Monroe, Sen. Louis Hill's chief researcher, ran with her boss. (They both finished first in their age groups.) It was her first time in the run. "It's a wonderful turnout," Monroe said. "The age group here – these young people must be paying attention to come out here and run two miles in the heat of the day."
After songs by the rapper "FP" and Gwen Rojan, awards were presented by James Carroll.
"And I have help today," he said, from Andria Dorsey. Dorsey, a Charlotte Amalie High School senior, won the 1,000-word essay contest on "What the Virgin Islands Must Do to Stop Gun Violence." She received a scholarship to the University of the Virgin Islands.
Overall winners in the race were Aneicia Williams in the women's division with a time of 12:49, and Bob Bowen in the men's division with a time of 12:15. Individual winners are listed below. Jordan Schulterbrandt won honors for being youngest, and Victor Schneider, 70, was honored as the most senior participant.
The ceremony was concluded by Monica Williams Carbon, aunt of Sherett James, who was murdered March 25 allegedly by her former boyfriend, V.I. Police detective Joel Dowdye. She spoke forcefully as Carroll, beside her, held James' 3-year-old daughter, J'Briyan.
"Gun violence is a community problem," Carbon said. "It is our problem. It won't stop. It will take each of us. We need to push the Legislature now for a law that police officers cannot be investigated by police when they commit a crime. This is what we are going through now. It's a long road."
Carbon, after the ceremony, said, "Every day, every day J'Briyan asks where her mommy is."
Race results:
12 and Under Male
Shamel Caines 14:48
Malik Todman 14:54
Jeremy Sprauve 22:06
12 and Under Female
Corrina Richards 16:39
Thea Hughes 17:07
Maya Hobson 22:20
13 to 15 Male
Tabari Davis 14:15
John Warner Jr. 14:40
Andrew Casazza 16:41
13 to 15 Female
Julia Casazza 17:26
Tynegua Lee !7:31
Amaci Cooper 17:39
16 to 19 Male
Hector Soliman 13:00
Mark Howard 15:44
Lindason Hazell 22:11
16 to 19 Female
Leanna Hyacinth 16: 15
Berllyn Charles 17:20
Tykela Lee 18:01
20 to 29 Male
Paul Schroner 13:40
Shane Murphy 14:16
Nick Walkerson 14:42
20 to 29 Female
Margon Cullen 17:12
Kendra Nielsam 21:18
Tamicia Nesbitt 28:40
30 to 39 Male
Bruce Sewer 12:16
Glen Miller 12:25
Dwight Ferguson 13:22
30 to 39 Female
Kelli Judson 15:48
Simone Francis 15:50
Juliana Charles 19:35
40 to 49 Male
Louis Patrick Hill 14:58
Roy Rogers 15:29
Frank Hanley 19:13
40 to 49 Female
Colette Monroe 16:06
Cecille Arbour 16:10
Eulla Walter 21:35
50 to 59 Male
Raymond Lutz
Koto Melschafsky 23:54
Seymour Davis 26:30
50 to 59 Female
Gloria Salas-Lindquist 16:25
Jane Federson 21:15
Olga Schneider 26:19
60 and Over Male
George Eltman 21:50
Michael Neaves 33:53
Victor Schneider 35:09
60 and Over Female
Molly Morris 35:10
Lydia Callwood 38:03

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