ST. LOUIS - An annual event commemorating the lives lost to violence in St. Louis city and county was held at a church in north St. Louis Tuesday evening (Dec. 31). The names of the victims were read aloud over the sounds of sobs, cries, and sniffles.
St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief John Hayden told the crowd the city had 194 homicides during 2019. That number is eight more than in 2018 and 11 fewer than in 2017.
In the city of St. Louis, six victims were under the age of 10, five were 15 or 16 years old, and one victim was 17 years old, according to Hayden.
More than a dozen city leaders offered support for those grieving at Williams Temple Church of God in Christ.
Hayden said half of this year's homicides were connected to drug activity, about 35 percent involve person disputes, and about 15 percent are tied to domestic situations.
"It must be said: our tolerance for violence that we do to each other is too high," said James Clark of Better Family Life.
Williams Temple Church is in the midst of a 40-day fast and prayer to honor those lost to violence. Church leaders said they have completed 30 days.
Church leaders invite the public to stop by the church at the corner of Union Boulevard and Dr. Martin Luther King Drive during the remaining ten days to join them in prayer.