By JOSEPH HAMRICK
Amidst a sea of candles, tragedy, shock, anger and sadness were expressed Wednesday night during the candlelight vigil held in memory of Alicia Moore, the 16-year-old girl who was found murdered on Tuesday in Van Zandt County.
The crowd that gathered on the corner of Walnut and Bourland streets, was asked to wear purple, Alicia’s favorite color.
Chad Pitts, a neighborhood friend, expressed his condolences to the family and asked them not to give up hope.
“It’s a tragedy,” he said. “My heart goes out to the family, but we know God is in control, and everyone continues to be strong and come together in the community.”
Trina Perkins-Jones, Alicia’s grandmother, said she was nice, quiet and sweet girl.
“She was a sweet and shy person,” she said. “And she was very vulnerable.”
Perkins-Jones said that was one of the reasons that made her murder even harder to take.
“By being who she was and for somebody to have done that to her,” she said, “is an injustice.”
Rev. Philip Dukes said every life is to be celebrated and cherished while on earth.
“Jesus has brought us here to celebrate Alicia’s life,” he said. “Tonight these candles are lit to celebrate her life and to show every life is valuable in this country.”
According to Shenae Stephenson, a family friend, her life was taken far too soon.
“I’m sorry that it happened and my condolences go out to the family,” she said. “I hated that it happened so soon. Just thinking that your child is coming home and then you find out they’ve been murdered.”
Dukes said the murder has raised an awareness about the dangers in the world.
“This has grown us and alerted us to what is going on around us,” he said. “We need to stand together in a united community. Support this family and support this city.”
According to Jessica Byrd, Alicia’s aunt, the community needs to help the police department find who murdered her niece.
“If you know anything, just call the police department,” she said.
Byrd said she is thankful for the community’s involvement and support for her and her family.
“I just want to personally thank everyone from the bottom of my heart,” she said. “It shows how important the members of the community are.”
A march will be held at noon on Saturday in Alicia’s memory. The march will begin at Graham Park and go to the corner of Walnut and Bourland street.