Milwaukee community hosts vigil for homicide victims in 2019

NOW: Milwaukee community hosts vigil for homicide victims in 2019

Two days before the new year, a vigil was held to remember the homicide victims of 2019.

Sunday's vigil was an emotional moment for those who lost their loved ones. But it was also a chance for local, and state, leaders to press their continued message that the violence in Milwaukee must stop.

120 candles sat on a table inside Crossing Jordan Ministries on the city's northwest side. Each light represented a life loss to homicide this year.

One of the names read that night was that of 67-year-old Jimmie Gray.

“It’s exactly one year, they still haven't found the people," Shannon Perry, Gray's daughter, said. “Some cruel person set my father on fire.”

Gray’s homicide came in January. His body was found inside a vacant home that was set on fire near 24th and Capitol. His murder still haunts his daughters.

“We don’t know, to this day, why or who or anything," Perry added. “My father didn’t deserve that. They killed him a day before his birthday.”

Of the 120 homicides, 99 of those represent non-self defense cases, according to the Milwaukee Office of Violence Prevention. The 99 is up from 95 last year, but still trending down overall.

“Looking at a three-year-average, we’re trending down 16 percent," Reggie Moore, director of the City of Milwaukee Office of Violence Prevention, said. "However, looking at this time last year compared to this time this year we’re up four percent.”

Congresswoman Gwen Moore says leaders must continue to address the systemic problems in the community.

“The number of candles on this table this year are staggering," Moore said. “There was not any room left on that table.”

The Office of Violence Prevention tells CBS 58 there have been 444 non-fatal shootings in 2019.

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