ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Two groups of family and friends came together Sunday night, sharing a tragic bond, to remember murder victims on the anniversary of their deaths.
Friday, June 26, 2015 was a heart-breaking day for so many in Albuquerque.
Around 3 a.m., Steven Gerecke was shot and killed in his own driveway near Tramway and Indian School. Police say he had confronted a group of teen car burglars.
The beloved, long-time bartender worked at Spectator’s in the Heights. His death shook the community and enraged many regarding why the suspected teen killers were out so late.
Around 10 p.m. that same day, Manzano High School student Jaydon Chavez-Silver was killed at a house party near Tramway and Lomas. Shots were fired into the house by someone outside on the street. Chavez-Silver was struck by a bullet.
Police don’t think Chavez-Silver was the intended target.
On Sunday, on the one-year anniversary of the murders of Gerecke and Chavez-Silver, family and friends of both victims came together at Tingley Beach and held a joint memorial.
“It’s like yesterday,” Vinnie, Gerecke’s widow, said. “A whole year doesn’t make a difference.”
She stood alongside Nicole Chavez, Jaydon’s mother, as friends and family lit lanterns and set them in the water. They slowly drifted across the pond.
“It’s just been really emotional to go back to that night,” Nicole said. “Getting that call and reliving the moments. It’s just been a really hard weekend.”
Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden was among those at the memorial. So were other families affected by gun violence, like the wife of slain Rio Rancho officer Gregg “Nigel” Benner and the parents of Lilly Garcia, the young girl killed in I-40 during a road rage incident.
Vinnie and Nicole now call each other “family,” although they never expected to meet this way.