On March 31, Avante Boyce was fatally shot in a parking lot on the city’s East Side. No arrests have been made, but police are searching for a specific suspect. As Pastor Boyce mourns, he’s also speaking out about God’s peace and the need to end senseless violence.
Darrell Boyce: Let’s Work To Save Lives
At a prayer gathering and balloon release for Avante yesterday, his father, pastor of Deliverance Community Church, told the crowd, “It’s time for us to come together and be one and really stop what’s going on. We have to teach our young men and women that it’s not worth it.” Not being able to save his son’s life “hurts me,” Boyce added, “but our goal today is to save a life. It couldn’t be my son, but it could be your son and your daughters.”
Pastor Boyce urged the shooter to turn himself in, calling him a coward. “One of the things I’m dedicated to now is making sure that [my son’s] killer is brought to justice,” he said. Boyce also requested prayers for his family, including Avante’s two young sons.
Longtime friend Pastor Royce Sullivan says he and Darrell Boyce have done community work together since high school. “For years Darrell Boyce has worked to make a difference, since the late ’90s at least,” Sullivan tells a local TV station. “Darrell Boyce goes all the way back to a group called Ganging Up For Christ. We would stump. We would step. We would sing. We had praise dancing.” Those activities occurred “year-round because violence goes on year-round,” Sullivan adds. “Unfortunately, [violence] finally hit a person that has had all hands on deck to stop this very thing.”
Following two tough years of pandemic-related isolation, Sullivan says, people need to learn to work together again. “Let’s not have a town hall meeting, but let’s have community incubators,” he says. “We need somewhere to share and hear what people are feeling. … We are all hurting the same way, and we are all wanting to grow together.”
Grieving Father Finds God’s Peace in the Storm
In a video posted to Facebook early Tuesday, Pastor Boyce shared a brief but powerful testimony. Before heading to a pre-dawn dialysis appointment, he thanked God for providing peace even amid this latest storm.