LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Dozens of victims of violence and their families gathered in downtown Louisville on Sunday for the start of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.

More than 30 people stood in a circle at Jefferson Square Park to share experiences and remember those they lost to violence.

“Your whole life just crumbles right in front of your face. There is nothing you can do,” said Terry Zwicker, who lost his son Trey in 2011.

Trey was found dead behind Liberty High School. He was beaten to death and left in a ditch. The story made national headlines.

“For us it has been seven years but the pain is just like it has been seven minutes ... as far as any type of closure, there’s really not any closure,” Zwicker said.

There were hugs, tears, and moments of reflection as family members held photos of loved ones lost to violence.

Several doves were released to cheers and applause to symbolize new life and a move forward for those still dealing with the aftermath of the violence.

“I was actually shot multiple times. I lost a friend also in the process of all this going down,” Shenitrea Vaughn said. She was shot in April 2016 and paralyzed from the waist down – confining her to a wheelchair.

Metro Council Members Jessica Green and Angela Leet were in attendance, speaking to victims and listening to them share stories of survival.

Vaughn says the gathering brings a camaraderie and a bond between strangers she hopes others do not have to experience.

“It just puts a warm spot in your heart to know that all these people can come together through the heartbreak of the loss,” Vaughn said.

According to U of L Hospital and LMPD, since 2003 there have been more than 1,100 murders in metro Louisville – more than 3,000 people were injured by gunfire but survived.

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