By Michael Schwanke
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
3:43 PM CST, January 3, 2013
Pastor Kevass Harding remembers what 13th and Oliver used to be.
“When I would look across the street I would witness drug deals and prostitution,” says Harding.
From the windows of his Methodist church he sees it all. He walked us outside to show us why he decided to do something about it.
“I wanted this as a reminder this won't happen again,” says Harding pointing to a single bullet hole in one of his stained glass windows.
“We just finished worshiping,” Harding says explaining when the round came into the church.
For Harding, a former Wichita police officer, that was it.
“That was my tipping point and a reminder we won't stop trying to do our best for our community.”
So he dedicated time and money to clean up the intersection. One he knows has a reputation.
“It bothers me. People joke about it...don't drive down that street, or don’t go down to that corner.”
His efforts worked. He bought and re-vitalized the Ken-Mar shopping area. For years violence was down.
“Part of that was we put a police station in there.”
Harding's group sold Ken-Mar. The police sub-station is gone now and despite continued growth in the area, the past few months have been rough Harding says.
Two people died in a double shooting late last year at the Dollar General Store.
Now, just days into the New Year, another man is dead. He was shot blocks away from the intersection and drove to QuikTrip for help. He died a few hours later at a hospital.
Within minutes of that shooting, the new Neighborhood Wal-Mart store was robbed.
“It just makes me sick...part of being a minister is you want to pray,” says Harding.
And that's what he'll do. He'll also educate, and try again to make this area safe and protect its reputation.
“We can't be afraid to speak out.”
Copyright © 2013, KWCH-TV