DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) - Families who lost their loved ones to gun violence comfort a Decatur father whose daughter was recently shot and killed. Shemuel Sanders described his daughter, Shemilah, as 'the baby' of the family. While he wore his heart on his sleeve; Sanders said the only thing that was keeping him from losing his composure, was the love and support from family and friends.
"They took my baby y'all," Sanders shouted. "They took my baby!"
Mothers who lost their sons to gun violence, showed up in solidarity. Each of them spoke on how hurtful it is lose a child. Jera Gentry can relate; her son, Ashton Gray, was killed on September of 2018. Police believe they caught his killer.
"Now it's become personal and it shouldn't be that way," Gentry said.
Sanders was described as someone who was family oriented, hard working and a loving mother of two boys. Sanders said he and his daughter would talk everyday. While he's grieving the death of his daughter, Sanders is pushed to make sure another family does not experience his pain.
"I'm going to fight for my babies," Sanders said, who works at Stephen Decatur Middle School.
At the end of the vigil, dozens of balloons were released in the air, in Shemilah's memory. Sanders asked people to pray for his family and friends. D-100, an organization advocating to end gun violence, pledged to create a college fund for Shemilah's sons.