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Memphis Homicide Deaths Remembered in Annual Reflection

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Katie Riordan
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Friends and families placed personalized ornaments on wreaths to honor their loved ones who died by homicide in Memphis.

In a large theater at the University of Memphis on Monday, it took about 20 minutes to read a list of individual names commemorated at the 12th annual Season of Remembrance event.

The Shelby County District Attorney’s office has historically hosted the night to offer healing and support to friends and family who have lost loved ones to violence.

As names were read one by one, attendees placed customized ornaments on a series of wreaths to pay tribute to some of this year’s 265 homicide victims, as well as those from years past.

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Katie Riordan
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Demetria Davis Blunt chose a cross ornament to commemorate her teenage son Damarri, who was shot and killed while riding a bike in South Memphis.

While this year’s homicide rate in Memphis will likely not surpass 2021’s record setting 346 deaths, Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy reminded the audience that numbers cannot capture the depth of loss.

“We’re not just talking about victims, as a concept,” he said. “We’re not just talking about statistics in a crime commission report…each one of these people was a living, breathing, cherished loved one.”

He asked the hundreds gathered to unite behind the common cause of reducing violent crime in Memphis.

Demetria Davis Blunt’s grief was still raw on Monday evening. Her 16-year-old son, Damarri was shot and killed while biking in South Memphis earlier this month. She says it helps to talk about him.

“I’m here by faith, and I’m here for Damarri because I want to honor his memory any and every chance I get,” she says. “I miss him so much.”

Damarri was family-oriented, loving and wanted to be a music producer, she says. He and his twin sister shared a special bond – they had to overcome multiple surgeries as children due to RSV infections.

Now, Blunt is committed to keeping Damarri’s legacy alive and seeking justice for his death.

Katie is a freelance contributor to WKNO. She's always eager to hear your story ideas. You can email her at kriordan@wkno.org