Family, friends of Kaneohe murder victim hold rally and vigil... - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Family, friends of Kaneohe murder victim hold rally and vigil against violence

By Ben Gutierrez - bio | email

KANEOHE (HawaiiNewsNow) - A suspect is in custody in connection with a beating that left a Windward Oahu man in critical condition. Kaipoaloha Gomes, 28, turned himself in to police Thursday night.

It was the same night that friends and family of Joel Botelho waved signs along Kamehameha Highway near Benjamin Parker Elementary School, in an effort to raise awareness against violence.

The gathering was scheduled on the six-month anniversary of Botelho's shooting death.

"Today was just supposed to be for Joel," said classmate Shalomar Silva, who organized the event. "But it's way bigger than it is now. We have Micah Mench. We have Maka, fighting for his life."

Micah Mench was killed in a single-car crash on Kamehameha Highway north of Waikane April 30th.

Maka Torres is the victim in the Memorial Day beating that happened at Heeia Kea Pier. Botelho, Mench and Torres all graduated from Castle High School in 2002.

Botelho's mother believes part of the reason for the tragedies is violence.

"Our generation is coming up being raised on reality TV," she said. "It makes it almost okay for them to be violence and then not suffer any consequences for their behavior, and I'm concerned about that."

Botelho also expressed concern about another link.

"The common factor in all of this has been alcohol. It's alcohol related. We just need to get stronger laws," she said.

After sign-waving, the dozens who attended gathered together to pray for Torres, and to reflect about their tight-knit community.

"We want everybody to know what Kaneohe is really about," said Botelho's father, Chris Botelho. "These incidents do not reflect on what Kaneohe is about. There's beautiful people here, people who care."

"Lead by your example," Nonohe Botelho told the young men who attended the vigil. "We cannot do this any more. We cannot. We must not."

"This is how we going change them," Silva told the gathering. "One person at a time. And it starts with everybody right here. And as we go, it's gonna get bigger. Before you know it, it's gonna be back where we wanted it, so that's our goal."

As the gathering applauded, Silva added, "Pray for Maka."

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