WILKES-BARRE — Wilkes-Barre has had its fair share of deadly shootings this year.
On Saturday night people came together to remember the latest victim of gun violence, a well-known radio DJ, Michael Onley, who went by the name DJ Mo, and spoke out against violence before he became a victim one week ago.
The crowd at Public Square in Wilkes-Barre grew. Each person was there to pay tribute to the man who was shot and killed outside a bar on Sunday.
People wore clothing bearing DJ Mo’s name and face. Onley was 34 years old.
Above all else, people who came to the community pride vigil knew DJ Mo for how outspoken he was when it came to the violence plaguing Wilkes-Barre.
“We’re here to honor him. I’m going to keep smiling because I know the legacy he left is not a negative thing,” said Tabitha Munlyn, a friend.
Munlyn was with Onley shortly before he became the city’s 10th homicide victim this year. The radio DJ who once organized a peace rally after his own brother was shot and killed outside Outsiders bar on South Main Street, the victim of an apparent drive-by shooting.
“When I got the message I was like, this can’t be real, I just seen him. It hurt my heart for him to die so violently,” said Munlyn.
So the more than 100 people at the vigil turned their grief into a call for peace, just like Onley would have done. Prayers and music filled public square all in hope that DJ Mo’s death was not in vain.
“I hope this will bring peace, this will bring unity in our community. I hope the violence would stop, and we could bring some serenity,” said Darlene Magdalinski, an organizer.
“This is a tribute to him, but also to the other people affected by the homicides their families and everyone else here tonight,” said George Brown, Wilkes-Barre city council member.
The vigil eventually made its way to Outsiders.
A father, a future husband’s, life cut short by the very senseless violence he hoped to stop, and others now want to keep Onley’s flame burning in the same way.
“We’d be able to stop the foolishness, determine what are the needs, what are the gaps, to stop all this. It’s not necessary,” said Magdalinski.
There have not been any arrests yet in that shooting in Wilkes-Barre.