GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Reshaping the Future, Honoring the Past. That's the theme of this year's National Crime Victims' Rights Week. Friday in Gulfport, a vigil was held honoring that theme and remembering local victims of crime.
Pastor Dr. James Stewart relived a painful memory of losing a friend.
"It was one of the most horrible experiences of my life," Stewart said. "She was like a second mom to me."
"She called me on a Saturday and said, 'I've moved out of the house. I don't know what's going on, but I can't live in the house anymore. I'm fearful for even being there anymore.'"
But his friend returned to the house to get her bible and her father's trumpet. Stewart said the woman's husband was there.
"While she was there, he shot her and killed her and then shot himself," Stewart said.
Friends and family members of those lost to crime came together to remember their loved ones at First Baptist Church Friday. A song paid tribute to Shakeylia Anderson. In 2008, the Gulfport teenager was raped, cut at the neck, set on fire and run over by a car.
This ceremony for victims' families also honored those who bring them justice. Assistant District Attorney Joel Smith handed out a few awards.
"It was due to this investigator's efforts in investigating this crime that Leslie Galloway was convicted of capital murder this past fall," Smith said. "The victim advocacy award goes to Sgt. Michelle Carbine."
Retiring District Attorney Cono Caranna was recognized for his decades of dedication to make the justice system work for victims.
"Each year we hope that we will be able to interest more in the community to come to events like this, but it still turns out to be just us lot of times. But it's enough to get the job done," Caranna said.
Gulfport Detective Michael Kamien received the Community Service Award for his work with child sexual abuse cases.