MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Monday, the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office held it’s annual Season of Remembrance ceremony for the families and loved ones of 2022’s homicide victims.
Now in its 12th year, the event also commemorates the victims from years past.
“You always remember what that person would be doing during this time of year,” said Tampia Jones of Memphis, who lost her brother in 2018. “You miss that person's presence. It’s very difficult and something that’s unexplainable to someone who has not experienced (losing a family member to homicide). There’s no way to explain the pain.”
The district attorney’s office has reported 265 homicides in Shelby County so far in 2022.
Grieving families gathered inside the Michael D. Rose Theater at the University of Memphis to hang ornaments on several large wreathes in the memory of their lost loved ones. Each one represents someone who won’t be there when their families gather to celebrate the holiday season.
“This’ll be our first Christmas without Keva,” said Memphis’ Vicki Spearman. “We just went through the first Thanksgiving (without her). It was hard. It was really hard.”
Spearman said she lost her oldest daughter Keva Partee on Mothers Day after she was shot and killed on her way back home. She would’ve been 44 in October.
“I was sitting at home waiting on her on Mother's Day, me and my other two children and my grandchildren,” she said. “The police came up around 2:30 that evening and told me what had happened to Keva.”
Jones took part in the Season of Remembrance again after she says her brother Jonathan Tate was killed in his own driveway in October of 2018 after trying to breakup a fight between his neighbors.
“To think of him laying in his driveway, to see him shot and killed that way is heartbreaking,” she said. “It doesn't get any better (after four years).”
It is the first Season of Remembrance for District Attorney Steve Mulroy. The message from Jones, Spearman and so many others was a simple one.
“Find a way to bring those criminals to justice,” Jones said. “What they're doing, it’s not just affecting the one that loses their life, it affects the entire family. The whole community.”
District Attorney Mulroy spoke during the event and called the ongoing violence the most important issue facing Shelby County. During the ceremony, he stood by to greet and comfort the families as they came forward with their ornaments.
Editor's Note: The Shelby County District Attorney’s Office initially gave ABC24 incorrect homicide statistics for 2022. This has since been corrected.