Community and family remember Jajuan Latham one year after his death

April 14, 2017: Almost one year after he was killed in a gang-related shooting, family and friends gathered to remember 12-year-old Jajuan Latham.

One year later, family and friends are remembering Jajuan Latham, a 12-year-old Knoxville boy who was killed in a suspected gang-related shooting.

Sunday marks one year since Latham died. A formal memorial service was held for him Friday night. 

Latham died in the shooting on April 16, 2016.

At the Eternal Life Harvest Center, songs filled the sanctuary while prayers filled the pews.

"It feels good to know everyone loves him as a person," said Dalanda Porter, Jajuan's mother. "My son was innocent. It can really happen with anybody."

Porter, along with other family members, shared stories and memories of Latham. 

"It was emotional and it was bittersweet. I'm thankful that everyone is still keeping my son's memory alive and you know, this is a special day today to just come out and celebrate him and have everyone still come out and celebrate as well with us," she added. 

MORE: Jajuan Latham remembered on 13th birthday

Several Knoxville police officers attend the memorial service. They shared a message of "enough is enough" in regards to the recent violence in Knoxville communities. 

"Change starts with you. If you want change in your community then you are going to have to take the first step and be about the action," said David Gillette, vice president of the Mechanicsville Community Association.

Gillette named the memorial "Break the silence, stop the violence, in memory of Jajuan Latham."

"Until you stop being scared and break the silence, stand up take your community back, we are not going to go anywhere," he added. 

Gillette said change is on the horizon but it won't happen without motivation.

PREVIOUS: Jajuan Latham's friends remember: 'He made me laugh'

"One of the main things that we need to work on in our community is to number one, impress upon the people that change starts within them and until we stop being divided and come together we cannot move forward," he said. 

To keep Jajuan's memory alive, they released balloons that all floated in the direction where Jajuan's life came to a close, almost one year ago.

"It was just all like, wow, just really unbelievable still to me this day, but it just closed it all with a happy feeling," Porter said. 

© 2017 WBIR.COM


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment
More Stories