A week after a shooting in downtown Sanford cut short the annual Sanford Christmas Parade, officials and the community have decided not to let an unfortunate event ruin the tradition, Sanford Mayor Chet Mann said Wednesday.
A do-over parade will be held at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18, in downtown after an outpouring of support from the community prompted the Sanford City Council to consider “Sanford Christmas Parade part two.”
“This is just a great show of support for Sanford,” Mann said. “We always rally when things go wrong and when we have a crisis, and this is just another example of how the town comes together when problems arise.”
This year’s parade came to an abrupt end on Dec. 5, when shots were heard on Wicker Street, near the parade route, and sent people scattering. The shooting happened before 8 p.m., about 50 minutes into the parade.
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The parade is a big event for the city, drawing local businesses, churches, dance schools, civic groups and high school bands. More than 125 vehicles, floats or groups participated in this year’s event, and some are expected to return, including Santa Claus.
The redo will have a shorter route through downtown, starting on Steele Street before turning on Wicker and then Moore streets. But it will end with something new for attendees – a celebration in nearby Depot Park, with Christmas carols provided by area churches.
“It’s a show of resiliency. The community wanted to demonstrate how strong we are,” Mann said, adding that the hashtag #sanfordstrong is circulating on social media.
Police have charged Deion Jamille Johns, 20, of 1508 Westover Drive in Sanford, with attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury, discharging a weapon inside city limits, going armed to the terror of the people and having a weapon at a parade.
Johns was arrested after a foot chase by officers who were on the street for the parade, police said. Johns is the older brother of Trevon Johns, who was shot and killed outside his home in July.
Sean Dimitrius Matthew, 18, of Sanford, was shot in his abdomen, arms and leg and was taken to UNC hospitals. A second teen, Jadakis Taylor, a junior at Southern Lee High School, was shot in his arm, police said.
Kathryn Trogdon: 919-829-4845: @KTrogdon