“It struck me in my heart real bad:” Families of Columbus murder victims remember their loved ones during the holidays

“It struck me in my heart real bad:” Families of Columbus murder victims remember their loved ones d

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Losing a loved one to violence is a feeling no family wants to experience. Unfortunately, several families in the Columbus area know the exact feeling this holiday season and are working to make sure other families never have to experience their pain.

White balloons are soaring high in the Columbus sky to honor the lives of those lost too soon from violence.

“The feeling like you lost a brother or a sibling,” Josiah Weaver said, “it like struck me in my heart real bad.”

Josiah Weaver is still grieving the murder of his brother, Dontrell Williams, who was shot and killed while working overnight at the Circle K in Columbus. Saturday’s ‘victory over violence’ rally is hoping to stir the pot and stimulate action.

“I think we have to change the culture first if we’re going to impact change,” Jarred Tompkins said. “I think laws and all those things are band-aid solutions. I think you have to find a way to fix people and fix the heart of man.”

Another goal behind Saturday’s prayer rally is to bring together families feeling the same pain. James Freeman’s sister, Jerrica Spellman and her three kids were stabbed to death this summer.

“Events for us like this," Freeman said, "going through this is, is therapy.”

“It felt good to be able to help and listen and hug someone going through the same thing I’ve been going through,” Tanya Weaver said.

Saturday will not mark the last time these families come together in prayer... the goal is to continue this conversation and impact change in the new year.

“We can’t just keep talking about it," Cherish Chambers said, "we have to actually do something. Nothing is going to get done unless we show action.”

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