Empowering crime survivors at candlelight tribute - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Empowering crime survivors at candlelight tribute

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – A moving tribute Monday night during the 29th Annual Candlelight Tribute for Crime Survivors in Kearny Mesa to those that lost their lives to violent crimes in San Diego County.

The candlelight tribute was held by the Victim Assistance Coordinating Council – which empowers families.

Each lit candle symbolized a life lost to violence.

“We come together and fellowship and learn from each other and bond and look forward to seeing these families,” said Tracey Swafford, a crime survivor.

Swafford’s 17-year-old daughter Monique Palmer and friend Michael Taylor were gunned down ten years ago while walking home from a party in Valencia Park.

“It is really important to keep my daughter’s memory alive,” she said.

District Attorney Summer Stephan said last year her office supported 15,000 victims.

“It is really hard for people to walk in the shoes of someone who has lost a loved one – especially a child,” said Stephan.

Precious Hernandez-Bravo is also a crime survivor. She said, “We are dealing with the only way we know how and to be together as a family, memories, share pictures – that is all we have left.”

Precious spoke for her mother who was in Sacramento fighting for crime survivors laws. Twenty-year-old Jaime Bravo Jr. was killed in 2012.

“It sucks to know that people are going through my situation because I do not wish that on anybody – not even on the ones that took my brother away,” she said.

Even with a loss of a family member, those who gathered Monday night knew they were not alone.

This week is Victim’s Rights Week. In 2008, California passed Marsy’s Law which offers protections for victims – including confidential records so they can’t be harassed.

To learn more about the District Attorney’s victim resource center, visit: Victim Services - San Diego County District Attorney.

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