OAKLAND, Calif. - Relatives of victims gunned down in unsolved cases gathered at the Oakland Police Department on Friday to grieve together and demand justice.
"We don’t want this to grow as a larger group," said Jasmine Hardison, flanked by more than a dozen other family members of homicide victims in the department's lobby.
It's a group connected by sorrow and heartache. They met on National Crime Victims' Rights Week, holding pictures of their loved ones lost to gun violence.
Hardison's son David McDaniel, 21, her only child, was shot and killed in 2016.
"This is too many people, and this is not even the half of the families that have been impacted by homicides in Oakland," Hardison said.
Erika McCrary agreed, saying, "I’m speaking for the family members that are left behind, having to pick up all of the pieces."
McCrary's brother Terrence was shot and killed in downtown Oakland in 2016.
"It seems as if we’re just forgotten about when our cases are just left on someone’s desk or left in a pile somewhere," she said.
Alameda County Chief Assistant District Attorney Terry Wiley said, "What you see behind me are the remnants of pain that is left behind."
Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong lost his own brother to gun violence. He said he knows full well the lingering heartache these families experience.
"After the tape is gone, after the cars pull away, families are left with pain and trauma, and who’s there to support them, who’s there to make sure that their next day is OK?" Armstrong asked.
Oakland City Councilmember Sheng Thao said, "We need to take a stand and call it what it is. It is a public health issue. It is a public crisis. It is a public health emergency."
Thao said more needs to be done to support families of all victims, including those in which loved ones did not die.
"And so the way that we actually combat this is coming together as a community, because we know we are stronger as a community," Thao said.