Candlelight vigil helps Tucson families honor loved ones lost to homicide

“Arabella Haynes.”

“Diana Vicari.”

“Patrick Balbastro.”

These three names were among many announced by family and friends Saturday evening at the Homicide Survivors’ Candlelight Vigil to honor loved ones lost to violence.

About 150 people gathered together at the Children’s Memorial Park not only to honor those they loved, but to show other families they are not alone as they continue life after tragedy.

“Every time she walked in a room she tried to comfort people, make them feel relaxed and she would make them laugh,” Gonzales said. “She was very kind and good hearted.”

He also spoke about being in the midst of other families faced with a similar path.

“We care for each other and we’re like a big family almost,” Gonzales said. “Every time we see each other, if there’s an event, a meeting, we always try to support each other. Because some people have bad days, some days are harder than others, so we try to be there for each other.”

Homicide Survivors, Inc.’s theme for the vigil was “Honoring Our Past. Creating Hope for the Future.”

The nonprofit hosts the event annually during National Crime Victims’ Rights Week in April. During the program, representatives of the victims lined up to announce the names of the victims of homicides.

Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier spoke to the attendees along with Tucson Police Department Chief Chris Magnus about the impact of homicides.

“When someone is taken at the hands of violence in our community, a family is shattered, they endure an unimaginable tragedy and a community feels less safe,” Napier said.

“Law enforcement alone can’t solve this problem but a community can,” Napier added. “I look out at all of you, I remember how special Tucson and Pima County is and how capable we are of facing any adversity, meeting any challenge because we have the sense of community.”

“She loved to help any person or animal in need. She was a silly girl, who loved to smile and make everyone laugh and be happy,” Barbosa said.

Barbosa also encouraged friends and families to share more positive stories of their loved ones in their communities.

“It is time, us, the good people in this world took a stand, speak of our story to those who will listen and hope we can change the views of the ones whose everyday lives are full of violence and negativity,” she said.

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