‘If I had one wish’: Anti-violence advocate wants solutions amid bloodshed

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A day after Harrisburg’s fifth homicide of the year — involving police Chief Thomas Carter’s nephew — a local activist is fed up.

He’s been closer to the ongoing violence than most, and now he wants to city the step up.

On this Easter Sunday, one voice in the congregation of the Kingdom Embassy church in uptown stands out.

“I needed it,” Rickey Banks said of the boisterous service. “You know, I was going through so much last night.”

That’s when Banks got a call. “She said, ‘My son got killed.'”

It’s the fifth homicide this year, and at least the eighth person to be shot this month; so many, Carter started a task force a week and a half ago to tackle the problem.

John Carter
John Carter

But this latest victim cuts deep: Carter’s nephew, John Thomas Carter, killed four blocks from Banks’ church.

“I’m sorry that happened to the family,” he said. “I’m very sorry. They know I’m sorry, because he was there for me when I got shot.”

You read that right. It was 1994. Banks was 16.

“I was a puppy. I got shot,” he said. “I was a puppy.” The bullet left him blind; but he wants the city to see what he does.

“We have all these abandoned buildings. Let’s get these kids out here to start gutting these abandoned buildings out. It’s summertime. Give them a job.”

Schools, libraries — Banks wants the city to put him to work so he can put his experience to work.

“If I had one wish,” Banks said, wiping away tears, “not to wish to get my sight back, to wish to help these kids out.”

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