Mohammed Maali, 33, was gunned down Feb. 7 during a robbery inside his convenience store. This week, the community will gather to honor his memory in a prayer vigil. Credit: PROVIDED.

PARK MANOR — Days after a South Side merchant was gunned down in his store, the community that knew him will come together to honor his memory at a prayer vigil this Wednesday.

Mohammed Maali, 33, was fatally shot Feb. 7 during a robbery attempt at his convenience store on the 7100 block of South Michigan Avenue. Two teenage boys were charged with first-degree murder several days later.

This Wednesday, police officers from CPD’s Grand Crossing (3rd) District, local faith leaders and other members of the community will gather in front of Maali’s store to remember the man known for his kindness, and to call for an end to the violence.

“We’re trying to change mindsets. We can’t police our way out of everything,” said Officer Lee, who is coordinating the vigil. “We hope to offer resources that will make a positive impact.”

Lee would not provide his first name.

He and other community leaders hope to use the vigil as a vehicle to help people battling drug addiction, unemployment, and homelessness.

Starting in May, the prayer vigils will become a regular event, added Lee.

“We’ll be going to different locations, targeting hotspots, areas with high activity,” said Lee. “This is our way of showing that we’re standing with the community.”

CPD’s Englewood (7th) District implemented a similar plan last summer.

So far, Pastor William Lee from Shiloh Seventh Day Adventist Church and Pastor Monte Rollerson from South Side Gospel Church have signed on to help, said Lee, who added that he will be reaching out to other church leaders as well.

Pastor William Lee

Lee is still trying to contact Maali’s family to extend an invitation to Wednesday night’s vigil.

“Knowing that there are people willing to help is necessary,” said Lee. “The main thing is that people see there are people taking a stand. It’s not about getting attention in the media, it’s about our presence. We believe in prayer, and the power of it.”

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