‘It makes your life a little better:’ Families gather at vigil for loved ones lost to violence

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Local families gathered at Metropolitan Park for the third year in a row to honor lives lost to violence on Sunday night.

Some families attended the event for the first time. They said it was comforting knowing that people care and they hope it can raise awareness to stop violence.

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“It’s a struggle every day but like I tell everybody, I lost my son but I never lost my faith,” said Sheria Thomas.

Thomas’ 19-year-old son Larry Tould was shot and killed on Jan. 26, 2021. Police say the teen’s death stemmed from a fight between two girls on social media that escalated. Thomas is still seeking answers.

Along with Thomas, mothers Robin Clemons and Pamela Tyson lost their sons to what they call senseless violence.

Clemons’ son Timothy Thomas was shot and killed in September on West Ninth Street with no arrests made so far.

Tyson said her son Gregory Dubose was killed in a hit-and-run four years ago. She says nobody has been held accountable.

All three parents came to this event for the first time together.

“It makes your life a little better, like someone really cares because it’s hard,” Tyson said.

During the event, messages were written to loved ones. Clemons said events like this make those impacted feel like they’re not alone.

“This is my first time being here and it’s not going to be my last time because whatever it takes for me to walk, march or whatever for my boy, I’m going to get justice for my son,” Clemons said.

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The families say that although so many loved ones have been lost, coming together makes it a little bit easier.

“We don’t get the opportunity to speak out in our neighborhood. We don’t get the opportunity to go to the news but if we could get together in our community and support each other, that’s all it takes,” said Sheria Thomas.

The event was organized by Compassionate Warriors Inc and Café Fellowship.

Organizers of the event say this is their way of bringing some attention to things that go on throughout the city.

Family members say this event brought a little bit of peace and they will be back.