ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – It's a New Year's Eve tradition started by the mother of a murder victim. Each year Jeanette Culpepper organizes a reading of names of the lives lost of violence. Her son was killed in 1991. As of Wednesday, St. Louis reported 159 homicides during 2014.
"When I lost my son in 1991 I know it felt as though no one cares," said Culpepper. "We want to send a message out that there are people who do care."
Balloons were released into the air outside Williams Temple Church of God in Christ at the intersection of Martin Luther King and Union. Inside the church area leaders gave speeches calling for a variety of actions. Candles were lit and then each name was read.
Regina Evans was moved to tears throughout the service. Her brother, Sgt. Donnie White, was murdered this year. He was 50 years old and served in the Army for 27 years.
"He was our brother, our protector and it really hurts to even talk about it," said Evans.
Sheree Veasley attended in memory of her murdered son, Jose Johnson.
"It's scary just to step out your door you know because they don't fear nothing," said Veasley speaking about violence. "All I can say, it's just sad."