Family of Oregon District mass shooting victims were among those who honored loved ones Monday during the 29th annual Homicide Victim Memorial Service.
In all, 67 homicide victims were honored Monday night during the service at Westminster Presbyterian Church in downtown Dayton.
Family members for all but one of the nine innocent lives taken in the Aug. 4 mass shooting in downtown Dayton attended the service to honor their loved ones.
News Center 7’s Sean Cudahy spoke to several families who lost loved ones in the mass shooting, who said their grief is especially strong during the holiday season.
Ron and Vicky Cumer came from Pennsylvania to honor their son, a 25-year-old graduate student originally from the Pittsburgh area.
“Everyone who knew him, they said he was my best friend, and I thought how many best friends can you have? But he always made everyone feel like they’re the most important person,” Vicky Cumer said.
“It’s just the fact that this is the first Christmas without him,” Ron Cumer said. “He’s always been there … He’s always been home so it’s just tough not having him there.”
During the service, the Cumers pinned an ornament on a Christmas tree in the church in their son’s memory.
Seven other families of Oregon District shooting victims did the same, loved ones of Monica Brickhouse, Saeed Salah, Derrick Fudge, Thomas McNicholas, Lois Oglesby, Logan Turner and Beatrice Nicole Warren-Curtis.
All of these families and friends are still grieving, along with so many others whose loved ones were taken too soon.
In honor of Dayton police detective Jorge Del Rio, who died Nov. 7 after he was shot during a federal drug raid, Mayor Nan Whaley and Chief Richard Biehl hung an ornament while surrounded by police command staff.
Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. said he wants these families to know they are supported.
“Every day is tough but during the holidays it’s even more so because that’s the time of the year we’re supposed to be with families, and enjoy the holidays and the celebration,” he said.
Throughout the years, the annual service has grown from a small group to more than 500 in attendance.
The event ended with a release of balloons into the rainy night.
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