Annual Vigil Against Violence to remember homicide victims
Parents of Murdered Children, Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham and Durham Congregations in Action will hold their annual Vigil Against Violence at 7 p.m. on Feb. 28 at Shepherds House United Methodist Church, 107 N. Driver St., Durham.
At the vigil, those who were killed by violence last year will be recognized. January 2012 saw the most homicides, with four. February was the only month last year in which there were no homicides in Durham. The majority of homicide victims were in their 20s. The youngest was 13 and the oldest was 81.
Of the 24 victims, 21 died from gunshot wounds. Marcia Owen, executive director of the Religious Coalition, said those numbers are “again clear evidence the presence of a firearm intensified violence between us.”
This will be the 21st annual vigil. Owen said that when they began the vigils, she took traumatic grief counseling training and learned that death by homicide is most tragic because it’s preventable. Many victims knew their assailants.
“People in a conflict, in desperate situations, pick up a gun and forget the most important thing of all: Life is sacred and each person is incomparable and irreplaceable,” Owen said.
For the service, all people need to do is show up.
“What we have learned from families of homicide victims is the second most painful part of a loved one’s death is indifference of the community. Just show up, show the families mourning these tragic deaths that they are not alone, that we do indeed love our neighbor,” she said.
The names of those killed by violence in Durham in 2012 are: Joey Derek Squire, age 24, Timothy McGhee, 24, Paul Anthony Noel Jr., 22, Jose Fernando Garcia, 47, Naomi Turner Wright, 65, Abdelgadir Mergany Abdelganir, 32, Jesus Contreras, 37, Faraah Anderson, 27, Farrahquan Glenn, 29, Carl Anthony Presley, 35, Mayra Judith Mejia-Romero, 28, Jaronte Deshon Davis, 19, Altaree Norris, 81, Donald Watson, 74, Antoine Quinton Alston, 27, Zacchaeus Ormand, age unknown, Dennis Lamb, 23, Wayne Preston Cross, 52, Noel Rivera, 44, Kaaylon Pamplin, 17, Emily Lopez, 13, Jelani Dandy, 24, Mohammed Arfan Sundal, 51, and Johnny Danilo Villatoro, 35.