Fallen Angels ceremony honors Detroit murder victims

- An annual event was held Monday night for family members of those who lost their lives to violence in Detroit to seek comfort and honor those who were taken from them.

While crime is said to be declining in Detroit, that often comes across as cold comfort to the people most affected by it. Family and friends are remembering those whose lives ended entirely too soon.

The Fallen Angels ceremony was held at the Church of the Messiah on Detroit's east side.

"The message that we want to send is that these are not just statistics. These are people and individuals," said Pastor Barry Randolph.

For the pastor, that message hits close to home.

"Serena Carson was a member of church of the messiah. She was found murdered in her bed by (next to) her 13-year-old son," he said. "So we're looking out for him right now."

The ceremony is part remembrance, part therapy and part call to action.

"There are a lot of things in life that happens that are part of the life cycle and death is one of them, but not shootings and killings and running our kids down - that's not normal. And our society should not accept that," said keynote speaker Lynette David, whose 6-year-old son Charles was killed 25 years ago.

Although her wounds are still healing, she's encouraging others who lost loved ones to turn their anguish into action.

"You can't just talk about it, you can't just say you're praying and all of that and thank God for prayer and faith and all of that, but faith without works is dead. We have got to take action be it at the school board, the civil review boards, community organizations, whatever it is to help effect and impact our community," David said.

Pastor Randolph says we have to change the ingredients that cause gun violence.

"Some of those ingredients are unemployment, illiteracy, poverty. Those are the causes of gun violence and a lot of times we don't want to talk about that," he said.

He says Detroit's resurgence will depend on it.

According to Detroit police's crime stats, there were 230 homicides in the city as of Sunday - 21 less than the same time last year. Non-fatal shootings and violent crime in general are also down compared to 2016.

Here's to hoping that trend continues.

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