Grieving mother opens candlelight vigil to all families impacted by homicide

Vigil held at Memorial Park in Riverside

A group gathers to remember those lost to homicide in Jacksonville.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With the number of homicides in Jacksonville rising in 2020, one local mother wants to help those who’ve lost loved ones.

After her son was killed while sitting in his car nearly two years ago, Tina Gray formed a support group, Compassionate Warriors Inc., to help support other families coping with a tragic loss of a loved one.

Knowing that the holidays are a tough time for these families, Gray is holding a candlelight vigil at 6 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Park in Riverside.

Gray said her 20-year-old son loved Christmas.

“That was one of his favorite holidays,” Gray said. “It’s not the same.”

Since Trevor Gray’s death, Tina has watched as more families lost loved ones to violence. News4Jax records show there have been 171 homicides so far in 2020. Of those, 137 of those were classified as murders by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office

For Tina, the rising number of homicides has made her mission stronger.

“The grief, it hits,” Gray said. “It gives them an opportunity to unite with others that are going through the same thing, so they don’t feel so alone. We do what we can to support each other.”

Families are invited to speak about their loved ones and they are encouraged to bring a toy to the vigil to be given to children in need in Jacksonville.

For Gray, she created a small memorial in front of her home to make sure her son’s memory lives on. That’s a message made clear by the praying hand she placed above his name.

The number of homicides in Jacksonville rose and continues to rise in 2020 and one local mother wants to help those who lost their loved ones with a candlelight vigil this weekend. The holidays can be a difficult time for families who have lost loved ones and she can understand after she lost her son in a shooting.

To learn more about Compassionate Warriors, click here.

About the Author:

A Florida-born, Emmy Award winning journalist and proud NC A&T SU grad