NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - “Don’t shoot. Stand up. Guns down,” chants the Carver High School senior class as they march in front of their school on Higgins Boulevard in the Desire neighborhood. They hosted a peace rally following the deaths of their classmates.
"We got more and more hurt and I wouldn't say angry, but we just wanted y'all to hear our voice," said senior Amaya Parker.
Since the start of the school year, three of Parker’s classmates were killed.
“It's just a lot sometimes to talk about because it's just sad that so many tragedies had to happen for us to come together but I'm proud that we did come together," Parker said.
The NOPD says two students were killed in the Desire neighborhood in September. 17-year-old Melvin Noah and 16-year-old Steven Mercadel.
Carver Principal, Jerel Bryant says the school has been working to help students deal with their grief and offer counseling.
"There are no words for it,” Bryant said. “It's senseless and they know that and in fact they are better commentators for that than many adults are and that's what make them who they are and that's what makes them powerful."
The students hope other schools will emulate what they’ve done to send a bigger message to other young people across New Orleans.
"We can't change it alone, but we hope to spark the movement that changes the world,” said senior Russell Roberson. “We hope that other schools see this, and they decide or they get that ambition to make a move.”
In the school auditorium, hand made signs cover the floor. One reads, “We want to live” another includes the names of the classmates and one recent graduate, Keyon Clark, that were killed.
"They were on a path to good. Talking about college,” Roberson said. “The fact they were taken from us is just like sad. It's ridiculous."
"We want people to hear our voice, hopefully stand with us in this movement so we can progress and end gun violence," said Roberson.
The NOPD is searching for a person of interest in the shooting death of 16-year-old Mercadel. Detectives say they want to question 23-year-old Lee Coleman.
Investigators stress that Coleman is only considered a person of interest.
Anyone with information on his whereabouts can call the NOPD’s Homicide Unit at 504-658-5300, the NOPD’s Fifth District at 504-658-6050 or Crimestoppers at 504-822-1111.