Holidays renew grief for loved ones of those lost to gun violence this year

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As people celebrate Thanksgiving with their families on Thursday, some who have lost loved ones to gun violence this year are celebrating their first holiday without them.

News4JAX records show that in 2022 there were 148 homicides. Among them, 117 are murderers.

RELATED: ‘Say what you know’: Family demands justice for father-of-3 killed in Sherwood Forest home

Darnell Wilson Sr., 44, was shot and killed at his home in Sherwood Forest in February.

Wilson’s sister, Melanese, said she couldn’t get into the holiday spirit because the person who killed her brother is still there. She wants people to know what kind of person he was – and how we miss him.

Melanese Wilson is by no means a fan of the Seminoles, but she surrounded herself in garnet and gold in memory of her brother.

Melanese Wilson is by no means a fan of the Seminoles, but she surrounded herself in garnet and gold in memory of her brother. (WJXT)

“It bleeds through my soul right now because I have to do this,” she said of her memories with News4JAX. “He’s a Florida State fan at heart. I have to represent him for him because he’s gone.

Like many families who have suffered a loss this year, Wilson and his loved ones are celebrating their first Thanksgiving without Darnell.

They end up with a memorial blanket – and a lifetime of family photos.

Darnell Wilson Sr.’s family was left with a memorial blanket — and a lifetime of family photos. (WJXT)

Wilson said the loss was especially hard on her grandchildren.

“She says, ‘I want to go to Darnell. Can we go to Darnell? To go play, and it was my parents’ house. They were going out there, playing in the yard, playing in the back yard, in and out all day, wrestling with my brother. They can’t do any of that,” Melanese Wilson said.

This very house where those happy memories were created is where Wilson was found murdered nine months ago.

“I put a smile on my face to cover up, but deep down I’m crushed. I miss him so much,” Melanese Wilson said.

Like many families who have suffered a loss this year, Wilson and his loved ones are celebrating their first Thanksgiving without Darnell. (WJXT)

As she waits for answers, Wilson clings to precious memories – and hope.

“Everyone knows my brother. They knew what kind of person he was. Hold these memories and keep us in prayer,” she said.

Anyone with information about who killed Darnell Wilson Sr. or if you can help police solve any unsolved crimes, call the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office at 904-630-0500 or CrimeStoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS .

Copyright 2022 by WJXT News4JAX – All Rights Reserved.

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Holidays renew grief for loved ones of those lost to gun violence this year

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