Friends, community activists gather to remember man shot by officers in Norfolk

Friends and family gather for a vigil for 43-year-old Willie James on June 3, 2016. James was killed during an officer-involved shooting on Thursday, June 2, 2106. Credit: WAVY-TV 10.

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Dozens of friends, family members and community leaders held a peaceful vigil on Friday to remember the man who was shot by police officers in Tidewater Gardens Thursday.

Balloons and posters were placed outside of the home on Chapel Street where 43-year-old Willie “Meat Meat” James was shot.

Standing behind a podium, local pastors and community activists shared words of encouragement.

“Today, what is important, and the first thing we need to remember, is who Willie was, who “Meat” was, and whose he was,” said associate pastor Oretha Pretlow.

Family members said they deserve justice.

“You best believe we gon’ get it,” said Wyniakia James. She told 10 On Your Side that “Meat” was her uncle, and that he suffered from schizophrenia. She and other family members say that one of the officers who shot “Meat,” knew that he was mentally ill.

According to police, “Meat” had a knife in hand and lunged at officers prior to being shot. Investigators claim that they have evidence, including body camera video footage, to support that.

During the vigil, family members argued otherwise.

“That’s somethin’ that they made up,” Wyniakia told 10 On Your Side.

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