Vigil held for those murdered in Milwaukee in 2012

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MILWAUKEE -- Over 100 people were killed in 2012 in Milwaukee alone, and Sunday night, December 30th, a vigil was held on the city's south side to remember them. Organizers said they hope the vigil will lead to change in 2013.

Milwaukee police records put the official homicide count around 90 for the year, but that leaves out things like self-defense killings. 

Northcott Neighborhood House and the Milwaukee Inner-City Congregations Allied for Hope, or MICAH say it's not just the cause of "official" homicides that need to be addressed.

The sanctuary at Ascension Lutheran on Milwaukee's south side was filled Sunday night with families impacted by murder. Among them was Roger Burt, who lost his son Mark in February when Johnny Gibson and Isaiah Triggs shot him in an alley near 12th and Cleveland.

Triggs and Gibson were convicted of first and second-degree reckless homicide respectively. 

"It impacts the lives of their families, their friends. It impacts the lives of the community because we all feel for what has happened and we know at some point or another it might touch us," McArthur Weddle said.

Sunday was the 20th time Northcott Neighborhood House has held a year-end vigil to remember all of those killed in Milwaukee. 

2012 did not start well, with five murders within the first four days of January. Throughout the year, the city saw an average of one murder roughly every four days, with the most recent happening less than 20 hours before the vigil, and another two days before that.

"What we try to do is bring all the homicide victim's families together for some praise and faith and just tell them to keep hope alive and continue to work together and look out for one another so we don't have to continue to do these kinds of events," Weddle said.

In all, more than 100 lives lost were honored Sunday night, each represented by a lit candle -- front a center for all to see. 

While the annual gathering is meant to bring these families together in the light of their loved ones' memories, it also serves as a call to action.

"We need to reach out more to those that feel there's no hope, no direction that they can turn to but something negative. We've got to give them something more positive to turn to," Roger Burt said.