DALLAS - On Saturday, at the Pleasant Grove intersection where crime took the life of an innocent teenager last month, there will be a call for change and unity.
On June 4, 13-year-old Malik Tyler was caught in the crossfire of what police say was drug dealers shooting at each other.
The heartbreaking, shocking incident tipped the scales for one man who grew up in that Pleasant Grove neighborhood.
Willie Franklin Jr. grew up two minutes from where Malik was killed.
He said he went to that same store daily, and washed his car at that same troubled car wash adjacent to the convenience store.
This bold, daylight shootout that killed young Malik was like a clarion call to Franklin, who called others, as he believes things get solved when the community gets involved.
Franklin is pushing something different in a part of Pleasant Grove where drugs are sometimes pushed.
Franklin's push cards are an invitation to change.
“A lot of us who grew up in this area and went off to college or done well for ourselves are okay,” he said. “We were fortunate enough to move, and that became an issue. Those of us who moved, never came back.”
After Malik was killed by an errant bullet during a gun battle, Datrail Clayton was quickly arrested.
Tips from FOX 4 viewers who watched Shaun Rabb’s Trackdown led police to arrest a second suspect, 21-year-old Tyler Buchanan, of Longview.
Malik's murder called Franklin back to where he grew up, and he called others
“A group of people who I call ‘the lucky 13.’ All of us grew up in this area, so I put the call out. Who is fed up like me, who wants to see change like me, and I got a good response,” Franklin said.
Now, the same businesses where the shootout that killed Malik happened, The Daily Stop store and the car wash next door, will be set up for something else.
“[Saturday], you’re going to see both these parking lots shutdown, and at that point, you’re going to see tents, bounces houses. You’re going to see a positive group of people out here having fun, playing games, eating free food, and we're going to take this one negative area, shut it off, and revamp it to something positive,” Franklin said.
Victor Ramirez runs The Daily Stop - the store Malik was leaving with friends when he was shot.
He’s supporting the community day, and making a statement
“We're here to stay, you know. The city wants to shut us down, but we don’t want to do that,” he said. “We want to change this neighborhood.”
Franklin believes the seed of change can take hold.
“Plant the seed and it will grow,” he said.
‘Community Day in the Grove’ takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, July 27, at Bruton and St. Augustine.
Everything is free.
Franklin is hoping for a huge turn out that begins to turn the community, and hopes to turn this into an annual gathering.