LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — On Saturday, families of gun violence gathered to mourn the deaths of their loved ones at Grant AME Church in South Los Angeles.
“It’s painful but it’s a really good memory for us to keep with us,” said Jessica Valdiva, as she carried a blanket with her brother, Ernesto Jimenez’s picture printed on it.READ MORE: Hollywood Christmas Parade Makes Triumphant Return To Streets of LA
Jimenez was shot and killed in Pasadena last year on Nov. 13.
Others in the crowd wore shirts or buttons with pictures of their loved ones during an event for the Gun Violence Memorial Project. For almost two years, Stop the Violence and Increase the Peace has collected shoes to commemorate those who have died from gun violence, some of whom were children.
“I’m a mother,” said LAPD Chief Emada Tingrides. “I know that pain never goes away.”
According to the Los Angeles Police Department, 600 shootings and 131 murders have been reported to the South Bureau. In some cases, the suspects used “ghost guns.” The prolific use of these virtually untraceable firearms throughout this past year has prompted the LAPD to declare them an “epidemic” in a recent memo.READ MORE: BTS Kicks Off Second Of 4 Shows At SoFi Stadium In Inglewood
“We have to crack down on these ghost guns that are coming down in our communities,” said Mike Gipson.”
Some of the families advocated for the community to help police solve some cold cases.
“To the people that seen what happened,” said Courtlyn Bridges, whose daughter’s case, Ky, remains unsolved. “You guys need to come forward.”
Others like Valdiva, want to spare other families from the grief she endured.MORE NEWS: Alhambra Ice-Cream Shop Victim Of Smash-And-Grab Burglary Early Saturday Morning
“Today, almost a year [after] his pass — it still hurts,” she said. “We don’t want any other families to go through the pain we’re going through. We need this violence to stop.”