'We're homicide survivors,' police chief says at annual vigil

Published: Dec. 15, 2017 at 4:00 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 15, 2017 at 10:04 AM EST
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - There were nearly 100 people at City Hall on Thursday night remembering a loved one who won't be home for the holidays.

This year is the 27th annual Richmond Homicide vigil.

While all who attended grieve differently, some found it especially comforting to take it on together.

The victims families say the support is essential just to continue pushing forward.

"It's nice to know there are people out there who kind of know what I'm going through," Toni Jacobs said. Her daughter went missing more than a year ago. Three months later her son was shot and killed.

"As of today, 60 people have lost their lives to a gun or a bullet," said Mayor Levar Stoney of this year's killings.

Now those who've lost a loved one are coming together in the midst of the holiday season to get a reminder of their resilience.

Police Chief Alfred Durham shared where that strength comes from. He, too, has a lost a family member to such a tragedy.

"We talk about cancer survivors, domestic violence survivors … but guess what? We're homicide survivors. But we live through it everyday," he said.

Other officials like VCU Police Chief John Venuti along with Stoney recognized the steep number of fatalities while mourners individually placed ribbons on a statue in their loved one's honor.

As the event drew to a close, those family members left feeling challenged and inspired to live another day - not as mourners or victims - but, as Durham described it, survivors.

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