Families remember loved ones lost to violence in Shelby County during Season of Remembrance

Published: Nov. 28, 2022 at 10:59 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The holidays can be difficult for those who lost someone close, and that grief is compounded if the loved one died in an act of violence. Families remembered the victims of homicide in Memphis and Shelby County on Monday, Nov. 28 at the Michael D. Rose on the University of Memphis campus.

The auditorium was filled with heartache and hope, as people like Paula Gilkey gave emotional tributes to those gone too soon. Gilkey’s 25-year-old grandson Jerome Gilkey was shot and killed on Mother’s Day in 2021.

“That’s what makes this a beautiful event tonight,” Gilkey told Action News 5, “They’re gone and y’all have not forgotten. And it means so much, to not only the parents...the mother, the father...but the grandparents. The grandparents are hurting, too.

”So far in 2022, the Memphis Police Department confirms 265 homicides, including Dr. Autura Eason-Williams, the pastor shot and killed in her driveway during a carjacking and Eliza Fletcher, the kindergarten teacher abducted and murdered on her morning run.

Nine of the 265 homicides were children, like 2-day-old Kennedy Hoyle, the infant tossed in the Mississippi River by her father, according to MPD. 1-year-old Karlie Wright, say investigators, was shot and killed during an argument between her mother and another woman.

The names of the victims were read aloud. Families placed an ornament honoring their loved ones on a wreath. This is the 12th year the Shelby County District Attorney General’s Office hosted Season of Remembrance.

“We come together to comfort those left behind,” said DA Steve Mulroy, “and to put the community on notice that this scourge of violent crime is something we have to take very seriously and do everything we can to stem the tide...if for no other reason...to honor those we’ve already lost.”

That’s a message embraced by Paula Gilkey. Her grandson’s death, she said, should not be in vain.

“It’s time to make examples of them because there’s too much crime in our city,” said Gilkey, " And if not now...when? If not here...where? If not you...who? It’s time to stop it.”

Action News 5′s Joe Birch was the emcee for this year’s Season of Remembrance. The ornaments remain on display through the holiday season in the DA’s office downtown.

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