Their message to families more than 700 miles away was clear: We grieve with you.
A support group made of people whose loved ones have been killed in the Charlotte area gathered in front of police headquarters Monday night to mourn the shooting victims in Newtown, Conn.
About 80 people passed a flame from candle to candle. They prayed or sang along to Amazing Grace. And they reflected on the massacre that has saddened people across the nation and is especially potent for others whose loved ones have been murdered.
Organizers placed 26 white paper bags with the pictures of the victims on the steps of the police station.
Until you have crossed this bridge, you dont understand what that day feels like, said Robbie Harrison, whose only son, Tramell, was killed 23 years ago.
Everyday is a gift, she told the crowd, which included police officers and weeping relatives of homicide victims dating back decades. Have you hugged a child today? If not, do so.
The gathering, organized by the CMPD Homicide Support group, was one of the areas largest memorials after the shootings of mostly 6- and 7-year-olds on Friday.
Police say 20-year-old Adam Lanza broke into the elementary school and opened fire on two classes full of first-graders.
Grief is hard for everyone, said James McGill, whose son, Jaron, was gunned down in Charlotte in 2009. But when its the death of a child, its especially hard. Were supposed to protect our children. Were supposed to keep them safe.
Wootson: 704-358-5046; Twitter: @CleveWootson
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