An event scheduled for noon to 2 p.m. today at Omaha North High School is meant to capture and focus Omahans' desire to reduce violent crime in the wake of 5-year-old Payton Benson's death.
The event will include speeches by city, police and community leaders, plus an information fair with presentations on direct anti-violence work, as well as family support, employment, education, mentoring and other efforts.
Representatives of many organizations working on such efforts will offer information on what they do and how people can help. Some will have sign-up sheets for volunteers.
“It's an opportunity to get engaged, see what's going on and learn about opportunities to get involved,” said Willie Barney, president and facilitator of the Empowerment Network.
The network is hosting the event, “Turning Point! A United Call for Peace and Progress,” with the Omaha 360 Collaboration. It will be in North High's Viking Center, 4410 N. 36th St.
Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert and Police Chief Todd Schmaderer are expected to be joined by former gang members, Impact One gang intervention workers, neighborhood association leaders and families of shooting victims, among others.
“There is an overall feeling in the community, from north, south, east and west, that we really need to change our community,” Barney said. “What happened to Payton and her family has impacted everyone in our community.”
Meanwhile, a sixth man has been arrested in connection with the investigation of Payton's death. Omaha police said Friday that Jacob J. Brown, 21, was booked on suspicion of theft by receiving.
The arrest is connected to a stolen Jeep Commander that police believe was involved in a Jan. 15 gunbattle that led to the girl's death.
Payton was eating breakfast with her mother and brother inside her home when she was killed by a stray bullet. Her funeral was Thursday.
Five other men, all gang members, have been jailed in the case, each with bail set at $1 million.
Shaun R. Murph Jr., 21, has been charged with possession of a deadly weapon by a prohibited person. Kevin Peak, 20, was charged with possession of a stolen firearm.
Adonus Moses, 22, Vincent Hicks, 20, and Jaylen Montgomery, 18, all are charged with theft by receiving in connection with the Jeep Commander.
None of the men has been charged in the girl's death.
World-Herald staff writer Maggie O'Brien contributed to this report.