Hurting families release balloons to honor loved ones for National Crime Victims Week

Detroit families who lost a loved one to gun violence gathered kick off National Crime Victims Week on Sunday at the Heilmann Recreation Center.

Among them were a husband and wife whose son was killed a week before Mother's Day.

"It's been hard, not knowing who killed him," said Betty Nelson.

Her and husband Alvin Nelson have yet to find closure after their son, 35-year-old Derrick Nelson, was shot nearly a year ago at his apartment on Outer Drive and Wyoming as the case remains unsolved.

"What I want that person to know is that when they took my son away from me, they also took a life," Betty Nelson said. "Not just some random life, but a life that was well-loved -- a person that was trying to make a difference in his life and others' life too."

There were several families who came to Sunday's event at the center in Detroit. Many, including the Nelsons and Police Chief James Craig, hope the event urged more people to speak up and stop the senseless violence.

"We as a people need to stick together and understand you just can't take a person's life and think it does not affect other people," Alvin Nelson said. "We, as a husband and wife, we miss our child, and somebody took that happiness away from us, and if you ever sit in this position, you'll know how uncomfortable it is."

The event saw a large turnout for unfortunate reasons -- several families who have lost someone to gun violence. Balloons were released on a rainy day to honor the victims.

"We're here to never forget and continue to wrap our arms around the families of victims so that we can finally eradicate the violence that's going on in our city," he said.

National Crime Victim's Week will continue until April 16, and there will be more events similar to this one throughout the city.

"That was my only child," Betty Nelson. "I will never have an opportunity to be a grandmother or mother-in-law and these things hurt, and that person should realize they need to come forward."