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New Stop the Violence bus needed to help keep message of peace rolling

Murray Holman needs a ride.

The executive director of the Stop the Violence Coalition says the 15-person shuttle bus that his organization uses to get to scenes of homicides, take kids to sporting events and get the word out bringing peace to the streets of Buffalo broke down and can't be fixed.

"It broke down on Night Out," Holman said. The 18-year-old bus wrapped in a bright red and black Stop the Violence sign stopped working as he was on his way back from a National Night Out event on Aug. 7 at the Johnnie B. Wiley Amateur Athletic Sports Pavilion, across the street from where a 17-month-old boy and his grandmother were killed in a spray of bullets this summer.

"The bus is now resting in peace, as people are saying on social media," Holman said.

Earlier this year, the FBI recognized Holman for his work.

Kevin P. Lyons, the former acting special agent in charge of the FBI in Buffalo, said in February that Holman can be found every day on the corners near East Delavan Avenue and Grider Street greeting kids as they come to school. "Mr. Holman has earned the trust of both law enforcement and the community," Lyons said.

That's one place he likes to bring his bus to make clear to students that people like him are there to help keep them safe.

Holman often drives it to scenes of homicides where he and his volunteers offer a "safe haven" inside the bus for families of homicide victims. "They can come in there and talk and get counseling," Holman said. "When they see that bus come in, they feel more secure. They know they can come talk to someone."

He also uses it to drive kids to sporting events, like University at Buffalo football games and Canisius College basketball games.

"We pick the kids up with permission from their parents and drop them off at their home," he said.

He recalled one time, some kids thought his bus was an ice cream truck, so he ended up taking them out for ice cream.

Another time, it was used to give shelter to the family of a man who had barricaded himself into an apartment in the Langfield houses. "It was in the middle of the winter and we used our bus as basically a base for the family to stay warm as they negotiated for the guy to come down," Holman said.

The bus is an integral part of Stop the Violence's work in the community, Holman said, and he is hoping a potential donor steps up to help his organization.

He invited anyone who wanted to donate a shuttle bus or make a contribution to call Stop the Violence at 716-882-7882.

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