JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Jacksonville mom says her son would have been graduating high school in a few months. Instead, she’s waiting for an arrest in his murder.
It was a Sunday afternoon in May when 16-year-old Marquette Clark left home to meet up with friends.
Twenty minutes later, his mom got a call from her daughter about a shooting a mile from their home.
“From the description of the young man’s clothes, she thinks it’s her brother,” Julia Gray said. “So I immediately dropped everything … There’s no way to explain the hurt and devastation."
Clark had been murdered. He was found dead on the side of Moncrief Road and Ken Knight Drive.
Gray and other families gathered at Families of Slain Children Inc. on Saturday to honor Clark and other lives lost to violence.
They released butterflies, symbolizing their loved ones’ final journeys. Many took time to find their loved ones' names on the memorial wall.
“It’s mostly all children. More children get killed than anything nowadays and that’s not good,” Gray said.
The city’s Crime Task Force has met dozens of times since its creation in January, and millions of dollars have been allocated to helping at-risk youth through the Kids Hope Alliance.
The city is also working with the organization Cure Violence in hopes of curbing crime.
As Gray waits for an arrest in the May 2018 murder of her son, she says the community also needs to step up.
“In order to solve issues, it has to be a collective, joint effort. It can’t be this side doing this or this side doing that. Everybody needs to come together,” she said.
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