Scores of people held a one-hour vigil Sunday night at Danny Mayfield Park in Knoxville, Tennessee to mourn and remember the life of Jajuan Latham, reports WBIR-TV.
This is a double tragedy for the family. Jajuan, 12, was cousin to 15-year-old Zaevion Dobson, who died in December when he used his body to shield three girls from gang-related gunfire.
The Knoxville Police Department told WATE-TV that Jajuan died Saturday night from a gunshot wound to the head. Father Hubert Latham said they had just pulled up to Mayfield Park to pick up his son’s friend when gunshots rang out.
“The first thing I do is reach my son, and I just realize he’s not moving, so I’m like, ‘What’s going on, is he asleep? When I picked him up, that’s when I realized, what I seen, blood,” he told the site.
Earlier that night, the two attended a celebrity basketball game in Zaevion’s honor. The night ended with Jajuan dying in the back seat of his father’s parked vehicle, caught in the middle of gunfire between partiers and shooters in two vehicles at the park.
More than 100 people attended Jajuan’s vigil. Many of them shared stories about tragically losing a loved one to gun violence.
Pastor Mildred Westfield told WBIR-TV that she didn’t know Jajuan, but came “because this is somebody’s child, it hit me personally because it took me back to my own tragedy.” Westfield and two of her friends said they each lost a child.
The sentiment among people at the vigil was that gang violence must end – somehow, some way.