Vigil remembers 270 victims of homicide over the last year - KMOV.com

Vigil remembers 270 victims of homicide over the last year

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Gathering at the vigil. (Credit: KMOV) Gathering at the vigil. (Credit: KMOV)
NORTH ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -

After a violent week in St. Louis, a vigil of remembrance Saturday morning resonates more than ever. It was held at the St. Louis Dream Center for families and friends of homicide victims to come and grieve and get support.

270 people between St. Louis city and county were murdered in the last year. At this vigil, all 270 names were honored. "Each year that it happens, I seem to know a couple to the names on the list, and it's hard,” said Sharon Williams, who lost her son 9 years ago to murder.

Among the family and friends who lost their loved ones, were police officers for the city and county, and newly elected mayor, Lyda Krewson. This vigil was a time to remember these people not by the way they died, but rather how they lived. "Not relive those moments, but kind of memorialize our loved ones because pictures and memories are all we have left,” said Williams.

Williams is a very familiar face at this annual vigil. "It'll be 8 years. The first year I didn't come because my son was murdered in 2008," said Williams.

Many other mothers, like Williams, share in each others’ grief. "I actually just had that [a t-shirt] done on the anniversary," said Maria Anderson, her son was killed 4 years ago this week on April 21, 2013. She used this vigil as a chance to reflect on her last conversation with her son Zachary, “And I just told him, you matter," said Anderson.

Anderson and many others in attendance were frustrated by the persistent and still present violence in St. Louis. "Two things that the street offers....that's either jail or the cemetery," said Anderson.

Last week’s double murder-suicide involving the two Laclede Gas workers was hanging heavy on many who came by the vigil to pray. "I don't care how usual these things happen, even as close as the Laclede Gas people...we grieve them too," said one of the police chaplains who was lead the vigil in prayer.

Williams will continue to come to this vigil each year, until she doesn’t have to anymore. "My hope is that eventually we'll have to stop having these types of vigils," said Williams.

The “Vigil of Remembrance” was held by the Crime Victims Advocacy Center and the Homicide, Ministers, and Community Alliance (HMCA). Both groups are resources if you are grieving or just lost a loved one to violence. You can connect with them at www.supportvictims.org.

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