HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — On the National Day of Remembrance for Homicide Victims Monday, the Hampton Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office and the Victim Services Unit held a butterfly release ceremony.
“We love you, because our loss is your loss,” said Hampton Commonwealth’s Attorney Anton Bell, who hosted the memorial to honor murder victims and their surviving family members. “They made a difference and we feel the impact of it each and every day.”
A circle of advocates and family of those killed gathered together to support each other — members of a group they would much rather not be in.
The names of the city’s victims killed this year were read — 24 of them — including the city’s first homicide victim, Joshua Scriven, killed back in January. His mother, Cheryl Jones, attended.
“He was just so lively,” Jones said. “In school, he liked to do sports. He played football. He was just a really, really good child, real spirited, (had a) good heart, not evil at all.”
Joshua was killed at age 19. Walking in a parking lot on county street in Phoebus, he was hit by gunfire taken to a nearby fire station then to the hospital were he would die.
“My son’s life has been taken,” Jones said, “and I do not want it to be like he is gone. I am fighting for him and I wanted to be here for those who are fighting for their family members as well.”
Last week, two people were arrested in Scriven’s death, and 12 of the city’s homicide cases are still under investigation.
The ceremony ended with the release of butterflies and a message from a greiving mother.
“Just put the guns down,” Jones said. “If you have a problem, talk it out. There’s no need to kill anyone, to take anyone’s life. Shooting someone … it’s final.”