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Families honor loved ones lost to violent crimes in Trees of Remembrance ceremony

Posted at 9:31 PM, Dec 12, 2018

TULSA, Okla. -- — Each ornament represents a life taken too quickly. Rhonda Hood attended for her son Cameron. The Channel 2 photographer was killed in a car crash five years ago at the age of 24.

"It kind of makes it special for the holidays to know that somebody wants to remember your loved one after they're gone," Hood said.

The Tulsa County District Attorney's Office hosted the event. The DA said what originally started as a single tree eventually spread to hundreds of ornaments, representing the lives lost across the community.

"It's not something you think would ever actually happen to you. Seeing everybody makes you feel like you're not alone and you've got other people going through the same situation you're going through," Shamia Thomas said.

Thomas' mother Charletta was gunned down by her boyfriend in 2016. Thomas still wishes she could call her on the phone. In the meantime, she said it's comforting to be surrounded by those that understand the challenges of the court system.

"That part is stressful and agonizing because it's really a slow process. He just got caught this year and now we have to wait until next year before we even start the trial," Thomas said.

Of course for everyone in the room, the holidays can be the hardest time of the year.

"There's just like an underlying sadness all the time, especially when you're around other families that have all of their family members. It really makes you miss the one that are not there," Hood said.

The ceremony ended with a candle lit for every family member. Those attending said the light of their loved ones burned out too soon.