Victims of gun violence honored at 'fallen angels' ceremony

- Fallen angels remembered. They didn't go looking for trouble but their lives ended because someone else did.

The community is coming together to fight back against these senseless crimes. As much as tonight was about the victims of gun violence it was also about stopping it  a call to action.

Some there believe more gun regulation is the answer to the crime problem all too common in Detroit.

"A bullet that was meant for somebody else and that bullet struck Nikia," said Pastor Barry Randolph.

The wrong place at  the wrong time. That's what Randolph says of the tragedy that left Nikia Jernigan paralyzed after being shot in the head in 2009.

"This has changed this family's life forever," Randolph said.

It was that common thread which linked many at the Church of the Messiah in Detroit  Monday, where families gathered for "fallen angels" a ceremony honoring innocent victims of gun violence.

"I never thought anything would happen to my family," Jennifer Stalker. "And it can happen to anyone at any time."

Stalker's daughter Paige was one of them, a Grosse Pointe teenager gunned down on Detroit's east side last December.

"It's disheartening knowing the person or persons who did this are still on the streets and can harm other people and other families," she said.

"Think for one minute in the last 10 years, this is a small sample of those people who have been killed in this city," said Wayne County Executive Warren Evans.

Evans says he's working to bring in more prosecutors

Police say while homicides are up 1 percent compared to last year, non-fatal shootings are down 2 percent.

"(It) isn't significant but it's a decrease," said Assistant Detroit Police Chief Steve Dolunt. "When you compare it to the percentages in other major cities across the country, most of them are seeing double-digit increases in non-fatal shootings and homicides."

That doesn't numb the pain in metro Detroit, a pain that guest speaker Charlie LeDuff says is felt by all.

"We are a family, as one goes we all go," he said. "One hurts we all hurt. One falls and we're all diminished."

"I think our laws need to be changed and people need to stand up and speak out," Stalker said. "As Crime Stoppers always says, to speak out against this crime and these tragedies that is happening every day in our city." 
 


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