MIAMI GARDENS (CBS4) – It’s been a week since a local car wash owner was shot and killed on the job while trying to protect a customer.

While investigators continue to search for clues, religious leaders have taken matters into their own pulpits in a combined effort with police to get more community involvement in solving violent crime cases.

A makeshift memorial still is in tact in front of a Miami Gardens carwash. The business was closed Sunday in honor and memory of the owner, Errold Peart, who was shot and killed there Sunday, December 2nd.

Police say Peart was shot while trying to help a customer who was being robbed at gunpoint.

Peart’s death and the death of others prompted local pastors like Rev. Eric Readon at New Beginning Missionary Baptist Church to encourage members of the community to break the silence that he said is often deafening in the aftermath of a crime.

“We’ve got to take this thing seriously because it’s them today, but it could be us tomorrow,” said Readon.

“I agree with him,” said Troy Burke, Jr.

Burke said although being perceived as a snitch might make someone unpopular, it’s better than the alternative.

“You’ve got to help. If it was your family, you’d want someone to help you,” said Burke.

Burke’s father and other parents welcomed the antiviolence message from the pulpit.

“We need to do the best we can as a community to make sure its safe for all the kids because right now it’s really bad, really bad,” said Troy Burke, Sr.

“It is reinforcement,” said Sonya Williams. “My kids have had friends that have been killed or found dead and nobody ever finds out who does it because no one tells, so it’s a beautiful thing to hear from the pulpit.”

The gunman who shot and killed Peart is still on the run. Police are actually looking for two suspects, but so far no arrests have been made.

Anyone with information should contact the Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471- TIPS.


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