ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Loved ones of Adam Amoia gathered in St. Augustine on Thursday night in his memory. It would have been his 38th birthday.
Amoia was shot and killed outside Dos Gatos in May. A “stand your ground” petition has been filed in the shooting. A grand jury in June indicted a man on charges of manslaughter and carrying a concealed weapon.
Moments before a walk to Dos Gatos, a gathering was held at Amoia’s family’s restaurant, Georgie’s Diner, where friends shared memories.
Rosalina Chryssaidis, a cousin, said she was always there to celebrate Amoia’s birthday. She said Amoia was loved by the community — “a good friend, brother, cousin and son.”
“Every day I wake up and I’m like, this isn’t real. Like waking up and having to relive it is the hardest part,” Chryssaidis said. “And I know that he would want us to be positive because that’s who he was, and that’s what this is about. We’re trying to be positive, speak good things into the world, just how he would be. And he would want us to celebrate his birthday.”
Charles Usina, a friend of Amoia’s, attended the gathering. It was Amoia’s first birthday following his death.
“This time last year we were at our Aunt Paula’s house celebrating with him over candles and, you know, singing happy birthday to him. This is the first year that we’re without him,” Usina said. “He was brutally taken away from us for reasons that we don’t understand.”
Usina said it was very important to him and his friend, Kyle Azaria, to be there for the family.
“It means everything to me,” Azaria said. “I know it would mean everything to Adam if the shoe was on the other foot. I know he would be here for my family.”
Following the meeting at Georgie’s Diner, the group stood outside Dos Gatos in downtown St. Augustine, holding candles, signs and photos of Amoia.
“Being here and celebrating with friends and family is part of the healing process because we love each other,” Usina said. “And that’s ultimately what is important is that Adam is looking down and he knows that we’re here together celebrating his memory with the ones that loved him and love each other.”