HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The family of a murdered Hattiesburg man is pleading for an end to killing and violence in their community. Saturday afternoon, Kannie and Elester Sartin joined dozens of other people for a memorial service in honor of their son, Elester, Jr., also known as E.J., who was shot to death Christmas Eve at the Pineview Apartments in Hattiesburg.
"All this killing these people are doing is not necessary," said Kannie Sartin. "They don't need to be doing this, that's not right," she said. Sartin was shot during an apparent drug deal gone bad between two sets of brothers. Two men, Semmie Smith and Chance Smith, are in jail in connection with Sartin's murder. Sartin's two brothers, Damian Sartin and Marcus Sartin, are also behind bars on armed robbery and drug charges.
During Saturday's ceremony, which was was held at Pineview Apartments, Elester Sartin, Sr. asked the community to come together to promote peace.
"Let's stop the violence," Sartin said. "Let's stop the robbing each other, stealing and mugging, it's not getting us nowhere," he said.
"I hope this is a very important message for all these young people out here that's doing all wrong things," said Lataura Myers, a family friend. "Just put God first and things like this will not happen," she said.
Also during the gathering, friends and family signed a banner honoring E.J. It will be presented to his family on New Year's Eve, during a fund raising event at the House of Blues on W. Pine Street. Money donated will be used to help pay for Sartin's funeral.