Prayer rally held in honor of dead teenager

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) Community leaders led a prayer rally Thursday at a church in east Bakersfield to call attention to the death of teenage boy found shot earlier this week.

The rally, held at St. John's Missionary Baptist Church, was in honor of 13-year-old Cortez Batiste, whose body was discovered near the railroad tracks behind the church in the early morning hours Tuesday.

Police say he had been shot multiple times and have yet to identify any suspects.

The rally was called to help the local community heal through words.

"Prayers help a whole lot," said Tasha Batiste, the teen's mother. "The only reason why I'm here, standing here strong, and smiling and going along about my day is because of my prayers."

Patrick Jackson, president of the NAACP's Bakersfield chapter, spoke at the rally.

"Life and death lies in the power of the tongue, so although a tragedy has happened, in order for us to combat that, we must pray to God," Jackson said. "We must lean on his word and understanding that he can heal the land."

Police are urging anyone with information regarding the shooting to call (661) 327-7111.