Hundreds Share Grief At Statewide Memorials For Those Lost To Violent Crime

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Thousands of families across Maryland gather to remember loved ones lost to crime. It’s part of the kickoff to National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

Derek Valcourt has more on the annual memorial that just keeps growing as violent crime continues.

We report on these crimes everyday. Sometimes the cases go unsolved, sometimes the criminals get locked up. But every time, families of the victims are left devastated.

Victims like Larelle Amos–killed by a stray bullet in the front yard of her home in Northeast Baltimore in September. She leaves behind her young son and fiance.

“It’s just devastating, it’s something that’s never going to end,” said Geron Mills, victim’s fiance.

Also left heartbroken–her mother.

“It’s hard, it’s really one day at a time. You just have to go on, but remember what you did have,” said Alisa Grinage, victim’s mother.

They’re among hundreds who shared their grief Sunday at public memorials across Maryland. Everyone has their own story of the day that changed their lives.

“We know that crime is not just something that happens to them, to other people. We know that crime can happen to anyone and we know that it has happened to us. We know that these are not just stories,” said Cheryl Tyiska, crime victim advocate.

Some like Mildred Samy and Daphne Alston channel their grief into action.

“We’ve decided to organize to say ‘enough is enough of this violence,’” said Alston, Mothers of Murdered Sons.

They started a parent support group after their own sons were murdered five years ago. Their songs names–added to the growing list of lives lost.

“Hear it one day, we’re upset, we forget it the next day. We can’t do that. We have to say ‘the violence stops today,’” said Samy.

But for others the pain is still too fresh, and being part of a statewide crime victims memorial helps.

“Because you find out that you’re not the only one that’s going through something like this,” said Mills.

“And you get to be a part of something that’s there and they know what you’re going through, so that means a lot,” said Grinage.

For 2011, Maryland earned its lowest crime rates in decades but still reported more than 28,000 violent crimes, including just shy of 400 murders.

More than 18 million Americans are directly harmed by crime each year.