‘The light:’ Family mourns mother’s murder at the hands of suspected teens

"She was the light, the glue, and the spirit of the family"

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In the first time since a Washington Heights triple-murder, the family of one of the victims, Sara Urriola, is speaking out. The Jacksonville mother was murdered by four suspected teens at the Calloway Cove apartments.

“We have lost a loving, caring, wife, mother, daughter, niece, cousin, sister, aunt, best-friend and friend today. Sara loved her friends and family very much and the friends that knew her know she was all about the well-being of her family. She loved to dance, dress up, and enjoyed all family events,” the family said in a statement to Action News Jax.

Urriola started a career in criminal justice and earned her Bachelor’s degree at UNF. She was working towards her Master’s at FSU.

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“It’s devastating to hear about an uptick in teen violence,” Terri Florio, the executive director of the MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation, said. “It’s a challenge in this community. It’s a challenge in many communities. And it’s one where there’s not many answers to.”

Florio said the key to stopping kids from getting involved in gun violence is giving them positive activity and holding them accountable. Florio added that a majority of crime stems in lower economic areas, where youth are already familiar with shootings.

“The challenge is getting to the point where it’s not normal. It really has to start at a young age.”

The MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation serves kids as early as kindergarten age, and recently opened a new teen center that serves about 180 teens with afterschool activities like cooking, art, and music lessons.

Florio said kids are looking for money, and that’s where drug dealers and gangs often get involved.

“Drug dealers recruit early.”

You can learn more about MaliVai Washington by clicking HERE.

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