Families of homicide victims gather for a vigil to remember loved ones

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ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - It was a chance for the families of homicide victims to remember how their loved ones lived and not how they died. A vigil remembers victims from both St. Louis City and St. Louis County was held at the St. Louis Dream Center in north St. Louis.

The vigil was organized by the Crime Victim Advocacy Center and the Homicide, Ministries & Community Alliance.

“We wouldn’t be here if these victims didn’t have a life,” said Jessica Meyers, Crime Victim Advocacy Center director of community engagement.  “This is really about celebrating their life, not the tragic way in which they were taken.”

Leaders from St. Louis City and County offered support to family members.

“I think the most important thing we can tell people is we care about all victims, not just victims who were shot in a certain place or of a certain background,” said St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar.

“The best thing I think that you can do for a family member is just to tell them that you’re sorry and that you understand to what extent they’re going through,” said Mayor Lyda Krewson, (D) St. Louis.  “But everybody goes through something different so this is just really compassion for the family.”

Cora Reed wore a t-shirt with a photo of her son on the front.  She also carried a framed photo to the service.

“That’s how I celebrate,” said Reed.  “I’m thinking of him for the good things not the bad things.”

Jamel Walker joined his family in honoring the memory of his older brother.

“We support every victim that’s out here, that’s going through the same thing our family is going through, “said Walker.

Eddie Mae Barnes is the mother of 3 homicide victims.  She fought back tears as she made a plea to the public.

“Violence is just not worth taking the lives of someone else,” said Barnes.  “It’s just not worth it.”