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Vigil brings neighborhood together to fight violence on trail

Tuesday - 5/20/2014, 9:13am  ET

WASHINGTON -- After a rape and stabbing death on the Northwest Branch Trail recently, the Langley Park community is alarmed, but they're determined to take back the neighborhood.

A candlelight vigil on Monday night brought kids and adults alike to the community center at CASA of Maryland in Langley Park following a man's death on the trail last week.

"The trail is a place of happiness, a place of family, a place for kids; now it's a place where people stay away and are petrified," says Zorayda Moreira-Smith, of CASA of Maryland.

A man later identified as 19-year-old Akinley Osafa Warner died after a stabbing on the Northwest Branch Trail on May 10.

The Maryland-National Capital Park Police said officers responded to a call at about 11:30 p.m. about a man lying unconscious on the ground near the 1500 block of Quebec Street in Langley Park.

They found Warner suffering from stab wounds to his upper body. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Warner's death is said to be gang-related.

The efforts to curb violence won't stop with a vigil, Moreira-Smith says. The gang-related crime in the area underscores the need to strengthen and support families and concentrating on kids: "keeping them busy, keeping them involved."

CASA site manager Sylvia Navas says she agrees.

"We need to give attention to the children. They are looking for that attention all the time," Navas says.

WTOP's Kate Ryan contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter and WTOP on Facebook.

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