Friends and family of 2013 NYD murder victim come together

benw@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 1, 2014 

The life and memory of Charles Foster Jr. are still alive one year after he was fatally shot in a hail of gunfire at Club Majestic.

"We just want to let the community know that we are together, and we want to stand together against violent crime in the community," said the Rev. Willie Phillips, president of Winterfield on the Move Against Drugs.

Phillips will join Foster's mother, Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson and other supporters at 10 a.m. Saturday on the corner of Cusseta and Andrews roads. Officials will read proclamations and call for a united front against crime and violence.

"We just want to show unity," Phillips said. "Our city officials are with us, and we are striving for a better community."

Foster, 24, was the first homicide of 2013 after he was shot in the chest on New Year's Day at 2102 Cusseta Road. Police charged two young men in connection with Foster's death and the wounding of six other men and women at the nightclub.

Dequandrea Artavas Truitt and Shaquille Porter are scheduled to stand trial Feb. 17.

At the time of his death, Foster was close to earning a degree in the spring from Columbus State University. A bachelor's degree was presented posthumously at his funeral on Jan. 5, 2013.

His death led to a march against crime in the area and Columbus Council agreed to revoke Club Majestic's alcohol license. Because his death was among the first on New Year's Day throughout the nation, Foster was featured in a story on gun violence by National Public Radio.

Phillips said it is unknown how many will attend the gathering to remember Foster. Several ministers and supporters from area churches will be at the event.

State Sen. Ed Harbison has prepared a resolution to recognize Foster for excelling as an honor student in school, completing community service projects at Andrew College and starting a program to collect canned good for families living at a drug rehabilitation center.

"It will show an innocent young man with almost six years of college, getting ready to graduate and losing his life in a second," Phillips said. "We've got to stop this. We are losing our brightest people. That really hurt this community."

Tomlinson also will read a resolution, Phillips said.

"It's important we remember those that died at the hands of senseless violence," Tomlinson said. "Our hope is to impress upon others the tragic and lasting consequences of recklessness and violence. C.J.'s memory will prevent other families from suffering this type of loss."

Jessie Foster, the mother of Charles Foster, said a day doesn't pass without thinking of her son. "It's been hard during the holidays because I think about him every day," she said. "It's just hard."

She supports the efforts of Phillips and others to bring the community together. "I think the community is trying to come together," she said.

In a city with nearly two dozen homicides in 2013, Phillips said many mothers were left crying after losing children to violence.

"We want to get the word out that too many mothers cried and it's time to stop the violence," Phillips said. "Hopefully, when the new year goes through, we won't have the mess we had last year."

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