As guests visited and mingled prior to the Sunday afternoon memorial service at the Abundant Life Church, Denise Trigg was buoyed by the sight of the hundreds who showed up for the mass memorial service.
Triggs son, Demarcus Adams, was shot and killed in March as he sat in a parked car at the corner of Abbott and McKee streets. He was 23.
His killer has not been found.
Church leaders offered a gift of hope to the families of 44 victims who died violently this year in Fort Wayne and Allen County.
In the crowd was Jonathan Ray, president and CEO of Fort Wayne Urban League, and Garry Hamilton, who will be sworn Thursday as the citys next police chief.
Today is wonderful because the community is coming together, Trigg said, and I have hope that the new police chief will reinvestigate all of the unsolved murders.
The death of Triggs son has spurred the petite mother and grandmother into action.
She has started an outreach ministry for children and young adults and is trying to organize a march in the first quarter of the year.
I am trying to reach out to the kids who are in trouble, who are gang members, Trigg said.
Trigg is not only reaching out to the families of murder victims, but the victims of other crimes such as burglary, child abuse and molestation, as well, she said.
Kids need to feel safe in their community, she said.
Trigg wants closure and wants to know who killed her son, but added that forgiveness is forgiveness.
There have been 44 homicides in Allen County, tying the record set in 1997.
Chris Ford, a worship pastor at Abundant Life Church, organized the service.
As a church body, we wanted to reach out to members of the community and show them we care about what they are going through, Ford said
Ford sent invitations to the families of the victims and reserved pews near the front for those family members. He said he had no idea how many would show up but the pews filled quickly.
Im sick and tired of the spirit of violence in this community, Pastor Dave Keller said as he began the service.
A slide show of the victims names, ages and dates of their deaths was followed by a verse from Deuteronomy: Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you.
In one of the front pews, a woman wept.