Homicide support group splits into teams to handle overwhelming number of vigils due to Charlotte murders

Members say even in the reality of rising crime, you can’t give up the belief things will turn around.
Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 10:49 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Another senseless shooting, another family left torn.

So far this year, there have been more than 50 homicides in the Queen City, a number that’s starting to overwhelm the support group “Mothers of Murdered Offspring.”

They have a vigil every time someone in the area is violently killed at the hands of someone else. Friday night, yet another.

There used to be one core group that held these vigils, but they tell me because of all the homicides recently, they’ve had to split up into three separate teams to handle the amount of families in crisis - including Friday night.

“There is no words. There is no words you can tell a mother. There is no words you can tell a mother who has lost their child by the hands of someone else.” family members said.

Tears of remembrance, tears of sadness and tears of pain.

They gathered Friday night in memory of a young man, a new father and a son. Everyone here just knew him as “Nookie”.

25-year-old Derrick Barber was shot while he was along Nations Ford Road in broad daylight last week. He was rushed to the hospital but didn’t survive the attack.

“I never say rest in peace for my nephew, I never say rest in peace. Because he’ll always be there with us.” the victim’s Aunt said.

One by one they came to the mic and shared stories from those who knew him best.

“Nobody was a stranger to Nookie. To know him is to love him.” a relative said as she addressed the crowd.

The family support group “MOMO” has been at Camp Greene Park hundreds of times before, seeing the same pain on different faces.

Members say even in the reality of rising crime, you can’t give up the belief things will turn around.

“This is going to end. You can’t give up hope. Gotta keep praying, and keep moving forward that a greater day, a better day is coming. We can’t give up hope.” said Mark Raley.

They lit candles and released balloons. Hoping peace wasn’t too far away.

Tawanna Wilson is with Mothers of Murdered Offspring.

“For people to think twice before they get that angry or before they’re dealing with whatever it is they’re dealing with, to take another life,” Wilson said.

No arrests have been made in the murder and family members pleaded for anyone who knows anything to step forward and step up.

“Anybody who know anything you know? They say the streets talk, the streets ain’t saying nothing right now. C’mon now…c’mon now.” a frantic family member said.

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