COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – The family of Cortez Richardson held a vigil on Sunday afternoon that was open to anyone who wanted to show support for the family and Cortez.

Columbus’ homicide rate has surpassed the total amount from 2020, Richardson’s untimely death made the 44th homicide of 2021.

Tiffany Richardson, the mother of Cortez and the five other children in the car during the incident, spoke with News 3 at the vigil. She advises all of the parents to keep their children close.

“I just want to tell all the parents… keep your kids close, tell your kids you love them everyday because you never know when you’re last going to see your kids. When I left my son, when my son left me Friday I was numb and didn’t know what to do. I’m still numb, so I want to tell the community to hold onto your kids, tell your kids you love them everyday because you never know.”

The vigil provided the community of Columbus to come together amidst this tragedy to come out and learn how to support each other despite the rise in crime.

When News 3 asked about the event, Richardson explains why the family chose for the vigil to be public.

“To everyone to show my baby love, for Columbus to show my baby love. My family has to support me from hitting rock because, I know it’s coming. It hasn’t hit me yet but I know its coming.”

She also says she hopes the vigil and tragic events her family is experiencing will serve as an avenue to raise awareness on the rampant rise of crime in Columbus. She wants to raise awareness for her son and others going through similar experiences.

“Yes, yes of course. For my son, yes and for whoever is going through the same thing yes.”

In closing with her conversation with News 3, she shares one final and important message to the unknown perpetrator and residents of Columbus.

“To the person who did it, I just want you to come forward, because my baby didn’t deserve this… at all. I just want to say this; my son Cortez was never in a gang, never a gang member. He always came home, he played video games, he liked to draw and he just a quiet little boy. He’s 12 and never in a gang so I just want everybody to stop saying that.”