JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Starting Friday and going through the weekend, members of the gun control activist group Moms Demand Action will honor those impacted by gun violence.
They’re also asking members of the community to join them in remembering the victims of violent crime.
People are asked to wear orange to pay tribute to survivors and those who lost their lives to gun violence.
A local family who just recently buried their son after he was shot and killed said they want justice -- and for the shooting to stop.
Vincent Samuels, his mother’s only boy, was a beloved son, brother and friend.
“I had waited for seven years to have him,” mom Terry Samuels said. “I prayed very hard to have a son. And he meant a lot to me.”
Vincent Samuels was shot and killed just three weeks ago.
“He was my baby brother,” Kristian Perry said. “I watched him grow up, and even though he may not have done everything right, he didn’t deserve to end up like this.”
Vincent Samuels is just one of the latest victims of gun violence in Jacksonville. Last week, Mayor Lenny Curry signed a proclamation declaring Friday as National Gun Violence Awareness Day in the city.
Moms Demand Action is asking people to wear orange this weekend in honor of victims and survivors.
While wearing orange can be a way to show support, News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said gun owners can be proactive in preventing gun violence. He said most guns that are stolen are taken from unlocked cars. So rule No. 1, don’t leave them there. Don’t make it easy for them to get in the wrong hands.
Jefferson said the weapons are used in felonious ways.
“They rob people, they kill people, they do all sorts of things illegally. They can scratch off the serial number and sell it on the black market,” Jefferson said.
For Samuels’ family, the message to the community is simple: violence is not the answer.
“I don’t care what somebody has done, you have no right to take someone’s life,” said Perry. “There’s another way of doing things. I think that’s what people need to take away from this. Burying someone is not the key.”
Terry Samuels said she misses Vincent.
“I miss him, I miss him saying ‘good night.’ I miss him saying, ‘hey, I need you to pray with me or pray for me.’ I do miss my son,” she said.
Jefferson also said now the summer months we’re entering are, unfortunately, a time of year when crime numbers tend to go up. That’s why it’s important to be extra vigilant with your firearms. There have not been arrests in Vincent Samuels’ case. Anyone with information is asked to call JSO at 904-630-0500.