Relatives, friends and members of the community gathered for a vigil on Monday night to remember a life cut short by gun violence. Destinee Virgin, 18, became the 26th homicide of 2018 when she was shot to death on Macon Road on Sept. 22.
It goes without saying that Virgin’s tragic death is beyond heartbreaking for those who knew and loved her. But her death is also having an impact on those she never met. Many of whom said they felt compelled to show up to pay their respects at Monday night’s vigil.
As the large crowd spilled over into the street, many say the system failed Virgin and that she should be alive today.
There were tears of sadness shed for 18-year-old Destinee Virgin. A young woman at the start of her life-now being remembered for the light she was while alive, a light extinguished way too soon.
“This is just a very sad situation all around,” says Rhonda German. “I feel like the system really failed Destinee in this situation.”
A statement echoed by the many in attendance who wondered aloud what more could have been done to ensure Virgin’s safety.
“We got to let these children know that we care about them,” says Karen Jackson. “You know a lot of kids…they’re just out there and they’re looking for love and they’re just looking for it everywhere but home.”
Rhonda German tells News 3 she believes the suspect in Virgin’s death-arrested for her kidnapping in April-should not have had access to do more harm.
“I feel like this young man had way too much opportunity to do what he did,” says German. “I feel like once he was in jail the first time, he should have stayed.”
Pastor Franklin Porterfield says men have to step up to protect women from violence, not to perpetuate it.
“Even when you don’t have fathers that are in the home, there should be men. And I’ve seen some of my Muslim brothers out here today,” says Porterfield.
“We just have to encourage our girls,” says German. “When you’re with these guys and they’re talking good in your ear or whatever it is they’re saying to you…and you know and see signs that they don’t mean you any good-you need to just run.”
“Pray for both families. This is a tragic day,” says Porterfield. “And I’m praying that the officials, the Mayor, the Governor, the Chief-of-Police…let’s everybody collaborate and come together.”