HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Family members, friends and supporters of Mark Pridmore gathered Thursday night at the spot where he was last conscious before his death.
Near a dumpster behind a hotel along University Drive, emotions took over as Pridmore’s loved ones continue to seek justice in his honor.
Pridmore was severely beaten in a fight near a gas station on University Drive on September 4th. He later died at Huntsville Hospital from those injuries.
Police charged 18-year-old Behre Xavier Starling with manslaughter in connection to Pridmore’s death.
Earlier Thursday, the group brought their cause to Huntsville City Council. They weren’t there to pick a fight, but to raise awareness throughout the city.
“With Mark’s death, I hope that our community can be more acceptable about the homeless and understand that homeless are humans and they have a story,” Pridmore’s stepdaughter Christy Riggins told the council.
In the wake of Pridmore’s death, many local homeless advocates are asking for the city’s homeless to receive the same treatment from authorities as any other citizen.
“They have the same rights as anybody else,” said Rose of Sharon Soup Kitchen Founder Sharon Walker. “They pay taxes, too. If they go in the grocery store, they’re paying taxes and so they need to be treated as human beings and not brushed aside.”
From answers to funding to empathy, countless advocates asked the council to help bridge the gap between the community and its homeless citizens.
“We must stop this stereotyping of the homeless and understand that this can happen to anyone at any age and at any time. It could happen to you,” said Riggins.
“We’re just wanting to see to it that Mark has justice,” said Walker.
Following the public comments, council member Bill Kling suggested holding a work session among the various homeless agencies in town. The goal of the session will be to enhance communication and caregiving for the city’s homeless citizens.