People of all ages came to express their love for the 17-year-old Niles North senior who lost his life to gun violence. (Photo by Heidi Randhava)

A prayerful balloon release was held at 5 p.m. on Wednesday at the Mobil gas station in Evanston where Carl Dennison III lost his life to gun violence on November 28. Friends and family members gathered with his mother, Laresa Jackson, and his father, Carl Dennison, Jr., to express love for the 17-year-old, who was a senior at Niles North High School in Skokie. Pastor Rosalind Henderson, Bethel AME Church, led the group in prayer.

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The balloon release was held at 5 p.m. on Wednesday at the Mobil gas station where Carl Dennison III lost his life to gun violence. (Video by Heidi Randhava)

Four other teens, ages 14 to 18, were shot and wounded in the attack. Carl Dennison, Jr. shared the tragic news that the gunfire that killed his eldest son also wounded his nephew, who was shot in the arm and leg.

Friends and family of Carl Dennison III joined together in prayer at a balloon release at the Mobil station on Green Bay Road on Wednesday. (Photo by Heidi Randhava)

Several people who gathered at the site of the shootings spoke out against gun violence, which results in an average of 38,827 deaths each year in the U.S., according to information posted on the Everytown Research & Policy website. The U.S. gun homicide rate is 25 times that of other high-income countries. Firearms are the leading cause of death for American children and teens.

 

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  1. Somehow, it should be mentioned, in a sympathetic way given the occasion, that this “prayerful” balloon release is also a release of materials which will become litter when all the helium leaks out of the balloons and they fall to earth, we know not where. In addition to just becoming litter, these empty balloons will present a hazard to wildlife, possibly both on land and in water. They might also include substances which may be toxic to various living creatures, both large and tiny. The environmental hazard caused by spent helium balloons from these releases has been raised by other people. I don’t think news media should wear blinders when reporting on these releases of helium balloons, and by omission of the hazard and litter issues, present the impression that it’s an unmitigated good thing. Not all consumers of such news stories already know about the the problems these balloons cause when they land, empty.