Mother's Day vigils bring calls for peace, answers after two killed at Mount Airy apartment

A community rallied together on Mother’s Day in order to mourn the loss of two young parents who were killed by an armed intruder while hanging out at a Mount Airy apartment.

The gathering took place a little more than a week after 31-year-old Keelin Broach and 24-year-old Beyoncia Willis were shot to death inside a residence in the 2700 Block of North Bend Road last weekend.

Funerals for both will take place later this week.

"She was beautiful and didn't deserve this. She had so much to live for,” Davonna Ward said of Willis, her sister. “Who's going to love (those children) like her?"

Willis was the mother of two young children.

Broach left behind three kids of his own.

Broach’s mother, Valerie McKinney, can’t understand why someone would want to target her son.

"My baby didn't deserve this – to pay with his life like that,” said McKinney who recalled recently celebrating her son’s 31st birthday.

One mother who was in attendance Sunday is lucky her daughter is still alive.

Veronica Blythe’s daughter was also shot during the May 3 attack.

After being shot in the arm, Blythe’s daughter jumped from a second-story window and ran to a neighbor for help.

“Thankfully, she’s doing pretty good. Mentally? She isn’t. (But she is) physically.”

Community activist Rashid Abdullah said Sunday that the community needs to stand up to protect its greatest asset – its children.

"If ya'll don't stand up for your children, who's going to stand up for them?" he asked rhetorically. "What's wrong with us? We are dying out here.

Stephanie Collins, a friend of the victims, said the Mount Airy community needs to use a combination of love and faith to combat local violence.

"God is going to prevail over all of this. We have to trust in God. We have to trust in god,” she said.

Collins said she thinks young people in the community have strayed away from their religious beliefs and that’s contributed to part of the problem.

“These young folks need to come to church, give their life to God."

Twenty-two-year-old Baron Brand was arrested Friday in connection with the shootings. He remains in the Hamilton County Jail on more than $1 million bond.

Police haven’t indicated if they’re looking for other suspects, but Blythe’s daughter said she saw two men with guns on the night of the attack.

Police are asking anyone with information on this case to call crime stoppers at 513-352-3040.

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