Jeremy “J-Berg” LaMar Turner was born 8 pounds, 1 ounce on July 17, 1991. He loved drawing and music, taking apart electronics, being a big brother to his sisters, Little Debbie snack cakes andlike his mother, Bonnie Turnerthe colors red and green.

Bonnie misses his embrace the most: “I just felt safe when he hugged me. I felt loved, I felt special.”

About 100 friends and family gathered July 17 at the family home on Gerard Street in Durham and held a vigil to celebrate what would have been Jeremy’s 22nd birthday.

Jeremy was shot to death May 17, 2011, when he was 19 years old. He was killed along with his friend, CaRon Adriel Allen, 17. Police say they shot each other. Bonnie has heard rumors of someone else being involved. She mostly just wonders why.

“It kills me on the inside knowing that is something I may never understand,” she says.

According to police statistics, 27 homicides were reported in Durham in 2011. Twenty-three of the victims were shot. The victims ranged in age from 1 to 67; 19 were male, eight were female. There were five homicides in the month Jeremy was killed.

The day after Jeremy’s birthday vigil, Bonnie noticed one of his 22 balloons nestled high in the branches of the tree outside the family home. She realized she wasn’t ready to let go of her boy either.

For more information about these homicide vigils, contact Marcia Owen of The Religious Coalition for a Nonviolent Durham.