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Vigil laments a family's second loss

Sarah and Wilbert Green, both Wende Correctional Facility officers, have lost their two sons to homicides in the past 10 months.

On Friday, several of their fellow officers wore yellow armbands as they joined family and friends in a vigil for Corey D. Green, who was shot to death last Monday while riding his bicycle on Walden Avenue near Academy Road. Corey, 21, became the city's 48th homicide victim of the year.

Earlier this year, Corey's older brother, Steven Barney, 31, was shot and killed in Atlanta. The man convicted in Barney's murder was recently sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.

"I just buried a son 10 months ago [who was killed] by an individual who didn't even know his name," said Sarah Green, as she struggled to comprehend the mentality of her sons' killers through her own experience with inmates of Wende.

"I don't know what to say," she said, haltingly.

"My husband and I, my brother, my sister and my brother-in-law -- we've all worked in corrections for many years, and the youths that come [into the prisons], don't even know what's going on. They haven't got a clue. When they come to us, it's too late," Mrs. Green added.

Friday's vigil was held in the parking lot of Walden Ice Cream, just yards from where police said Corey Green was shot after being approached by two men in a four-door, white Ford Taurus.

"Somebody knows something [about the shooting]," said James France, Corey's maternal uncle, who is also a corrections officer.

"There are lot of people here. This is a busy street, as you see. Somebody saw something. We need to know. We want to know," France pleaded.

Dion Gibson, a union steward at Wende, said corrections officers and other employees have, with the help of other organizations, raised $3,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Corey Green's killer. The New York State Corrections Officers Police Benevolent Association is offering an additional $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Wende Corrections Officer Kevin Briggs said Sandra and Wilbert Green have been active in causes aimed to help keep youngsters law abiding, such as the Youth Assistance Program, which gives s young people tours of Wende as a deterrent to delinquency.

"We've been working with these two officers, who happen to be married, for over 20 years. We have watched Corey grow up," Briggs said.

The Rev. James Lewis II, pastor of Lougen Memorial AME Zion Church, said others in the community have to begin picking up the slack if the tide is to turn.

"We've got to take back our streets and take back our community," Lewis said. "It's just a few thugs that are terrorizing us," he said. "There are more of us than there are of them. We need to come out of the shadows of darkness and be what God meant for us to be. Man up. Woman up. Stand up. Speak up," he implored.

Sarah Green also offered a plea.

"I'm asking each one of you today to take the opportunity to make a difference in someone's life. And understand that I stand her today, and it could be you tomorrow," she said.

A funeral is scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday in Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, 226 Cedar St.

e-mail: hmcneil@buffnews.com

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