MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The holidays won’t be the same for hundreds of families who lost loved ones to violence in Shelby County this year.
Memphis police have investigated around 265 cases, which compares to 250 this time last year.
Dozens gathered for the ‘Season of Remembrance’ Ceremony Monday night at the University of Memphis.
One by one, family and friends of murder victims hung Christmas ornaments on wreaths to honor loved ones killed in 2021.
Michelle Collins brought an ornament with a picture of her 16-year-old son Ja’kobe who was shot to death in May while sitting in a car with a girl in South Memphis.
“It was his birthday, August 4. He would have been 17,” said Collins.
Collins said the holiday season has been rough.
She came to honor her’s son short life and bring attention to his unsolved case.
“I was answering 911 calls every day before this, and now I’m on the other side asking for help finding,” she said.
Tiffany Gater is also searching for answers. Her dad Raymond was killed at the Washington Apartments in July for his van.
“I hope this gets some attention. He had grandkids, he had step kids. It’s hurtful he was taken that way,” Gater said.
This has been a violent year in Memphis.
Some of the victims have been well known, like rapper Young Dolph who was gunned down at a South Memphis cookie store two weeks ago.
Anti-gun violence advocate Stevie Moore came to the remembrance service to support those still grieving.
He said community leaders must come up with a new strategy to stop the killing.
“We’ve got to have more hope and get something into our kids’ hearts,” said Moore. “We never stop the guns. I’m convinced of that.”
Moore plans to announce a new initiative to tackle youth violence at the beginning of the new year.
The ‘Season of Remembrance’ was sponsored by the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office.