Tucson homicide survivors gather on National Day of Remembrance

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Homicide can leave a family and a community in despair, but the National Day of Remembrance is about reflecting on those loved ones and moving forward.

Dozens came together Sunday at the U of A mall, with one thing in common, crime has forever changed their families.

"I'm here today in memory of my fiance Tim Royce.  He was a yellow cab driver and he was robbed and murdered by three people," said Melissa Royce

"I'm here in honor of my younger sister Nicole Katz.  She was murdered by her boyfriend three years ago," said Michael Katz

"I'm here today to honor my son Jaron Desserres he was murdered five years ago," said Joan Gilbert.

The details are horrific and life after loss is a struggle.

"In the aftermath of murder we know that there is no road map or instruction manual," said Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne addressing the crowd.

That's why every year homicide survivors has a day to celebrate the memories of those taken before their time.

"So, that you will have people to turn to who understand your pain.  People who have gone through what you're going through," said Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villasenor.

Some of these families have mourned for years and for others the wounds are still fresh.

But they find solace in remembering the ways their lives were touched by those who have passed. Whether it's through items, finding joy in another, or honoring that person they miss by making themselves better.

"I decided to go back to school and I'm actually pursuing a degree in social work and my ultimate goal is to become an anger management or grief counselor," said Michael Katz.

Moving forward can be a challenge, but events like this let survivors know, they are not alone.

If you'd like to get involved with homicide survivors, the group is hosting a city wide scavenger hunt fundraiser on October 15.