After the fatal stabbing of two boys by their uncle at a North Charleston apartment complex, residents and community leaders are calling for change.
A small group gathered Saturday night in a parking lot at the corner of Rivers Avenue and Greenridge Road for a candlelight vigil in memory of the brothers — 8-year-old Avery Martin and 2-year-old Aiyden Martin.
The boys’ uncle, 26-year-old Raashid Jaamal White, was charged with two counts of murder and one count of possessing a knife during the commission of a violent crime in connection with the Aug. 7 attack at the Jamison Park Apartments, 2245 Greenridge Road. White’s family told authorities that he suffers from mental health issues and that a disagreement over a microwave sparked the attack.
Estrella Bennett, a resident of nearby Baker Plantation, said she felt called to action.
“I have a 7-year-old, a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old, so something so close to home, this really struck a chord,” Bennett said. “I’m just disappointed that we don’t have more support. This area is loaded with parents, students, teachers, children. Being a parent, how can this not spark some kind of fire for you to help?”
Among the roughly 20 people in attendance was McBee Zimmerman, a clinical counselor with the Charleston Dorchester Mental Health Center who is also embedded in the North Charleston Police Department.
Zimmerman was among the first responders called to the stabbing that took Avery and Aiyden Martin’s lives. She provided information about mental health to attendees and encouraged them to reach out if they or anyone they know is in need of mental health treatment.
“Only time will heal with this, faith and prayer and really leaning on each other,” she said. “You as a community will probably always feel this and feel this sadness. If for some reason, it is interrupting your life or something else…