Holding candles, many with eyes brimming with tears, more than 100 people crowded the sidewalk Sunday night outside the North Side bar where a 46-year-old father of five was fatally shot two days earlier.
Dozens of people at the emotional vigil in front of JR's Bar on East Ohio Street wore T-shirts with a photo of Donald Lowry, who worked an overnight job at a cleaning company because he loved being free to take his 10-year-old daughter to school, his sister said.
"He was a very likeable person," said Mr. Lowry's younger sister, Tammy Lowry-Gault, who lives in Owings Mill, Md. "It means a lot to the family to know everybody loved him so much."
Mr. Lowry, who lived in Sheraden, was one of three siblings whose family had deep roots in the Manchester neighborhood. Though she had moved away, Ms. Lowry-Gault said she spoke with her brother several times a day, to the point where he drove her crazy with the repeated calls.
"I'd give anything for him to be driving me crazy right now," she said. "He was the best father I knew to his children. ... He was just a good-hearted person. We're going to miss him."
Mr. Lowry died about 1:25 a.m. at Allegheny General Hospital, less than half an hour after he was shot when he accidentally bumped into a man who had argued with another patron and returned to the bar with a handgun, Ms. Lowry-Gault said. The Rev. Randy McIver, pastor of Enon Baptist Church in the Hill District, who led the vigil, said he had attended "hundreds" of similar remembrances.
"The community is tired. We're trying to find a way to get some rest for our tired souls. ... We seek peace," Rev. McIver said. "We're just going to pray and hope somebody hears our plea."
In his remarks, Rev. McIver took aim at what he characterized as an unwillingness in the black community to break cycles of violence, referencing outrage over the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Fla., but not over black-on-black slayings.
"We don't scream bloody murder in the hood," Rev. McIver said. "We scream, 'Let's be quiet.' We scream, 'I don't know.' ... Why can't we love each other?"
He encouraged those in the crowd to join hands.
"We need to be connected," he said. "Everybody's mad at somebody about something. Let go of your own anger. Let go of all the stuff you're holding in. Because that ain't why we here."
A young man standing near the back of the crowd, however, was unmoved by the pastor.
"Justice will get served," said the man, who wouldn't give his name. He said the killer's name is always known in the streets before it reaches the police.
"We know before they know," he said.
Robert Zullo: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-3909. First Published October 20, 2013 8:00 PM