'Neighbors are fearful': Cardinal Valley faith leaders gather to pray for peace

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Posted at 8:22 PM, Feb 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-20 23:27:31-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — With a busy playground as a backdrop Sunday afternoon, faith leaders and concerned residents met in Cardinal Valley Park to pray for peace amid a stretch of violence.

"Neighbors are fearful," said Nestor Gomez, a pastor in Lexington. "Especially those who have little kids."

Gomez and other faith leaders organized the prayer vigil after learning about the discovery of a body near a dumpster on Cambridge Drive.

"We prayed for God to show up here and make his presence known," said Carmen Russell, a pastor at nearby Calvary Church of the Nazarene.

Russell said she has called Lexington Police five times this year after hearing gunshots.

Gomez started preaching at the park's community center nearly a year ago to help reach an underserved population in Cardinal Valley.

"We're kinda like the church of the park, right?" Gomez said, laughing.

The park, though, has not been immune to the violence, Gomez said.

"We're cautious," he said. "We just try to be wise with what we do and what we don't do."

After the vigil, LEX 18 caught up with Mikayla Frazier, who brought her three-year-old son to the playground for the afternoon. She said the violence is one of the reasons they're moving out of Cardinal Valley.

"Without all the gun violence and stuff I'm sure it could be a beautiful place to live," Frazier said.

Frazier said her breaking point was the arrest of her downstairs neighbors.

"I was taking my son out to get some food," she recalled. "The SWAT team was out there. I just figured, 'This was enough.'"