The Journal Gazette
Sunday, January 12, 2020 1:00 am

Heal the Land service held at site of Dec. 30 homicide

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

The weather was cloudy and cold when Larry Montreal Briggs was killed a few days after Christmas in the 3000 block of Central Drive. 

About 2 p.m. Dec. 30, a witness said Briggs, 27, known to his friends as “Snoopy” or “Boog,” got out of a car after a gun was fired. He ran up the street and collapsed on a sidewalk.

When Fort Wayne police arrived, Briggs was dead. The Allen County coroner said he'd been shot multiple times. Briggs was the 29th and last homicide in 2019.

On Saturday, about a dozen members of the Peace and Justice Commission of Fort Wayne gathered to hold a Heal the Land service on the block where Briggs died.

The group's purpose is to “reclaim the land” from the violence perpetrated there, said Janet Mitchell, a commission member. Upcoming services are posted on a Facebook page, and the commission has been active for more than 20 years, Mitchell added.

The ceremony opened with a reading from the Bible: “I see violence and riots in the city surrounding it day and night, filling it with crime and trouble. There's destruction everywhere. The streets are full of oppression and fraud. ... But I call to the Lord God for help and God will save me. Morning, noon and night, my complaints and groans go up to God and God will hear my voice.” 

The short service ended with the hymn “Amazing Grace.”

Pat Driscoll, a commission leader, said shooters have attended or asked for services, saying they made a mistake. 

At some services, neighbors join, but Saturday was gray and rainy. The service was held under umbrellas.

A few blocks away, Briggs' funeral service was held at Greater Christ Temple, 2940 S. Anthony Blvd. One of those attending was Angelo Vincent Mante, a community activist and Methodist pastor who knew Briggs through family.

He shared the service program that gave details of Briggs' life. Briggs was born in Iowa, but raised in Fort Wayne until he moved to Memphis, Tennessee.

Briggs returned to Fort Wayne and was employed at Android Industries and FCC Adams, according to the program.

He is survived by his mother, Takeetha Woodson, father, Larry Briggs Sr., stepmother, Barbara Briggs, and four children. 

At this time, police do not have a suspect or person of interest in the slaying, Detective Sgt. Timothy Hughes of the Fort Wayne Police Department, said Saturday in an email.

After Briggs was killed, police said they believed at least two people were involved. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact the detective bureau at 260-427-1201 or Crime Stoppers at 260-427-STOP.

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