NORTH SACRAMENTO — From crime tape to candlelight, Hagginwood Park in North Sacramento looked like a much different place Monday.
Just 10 days ago, 23-year-old Darius Woods was shot and killed there.
“It’s good to see everybody out here because it’s going to take all of us to prevent tragedies and us losing far too many people far too early in their life,” said Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn.
Monday, community activists and supporters tried to use Woods’ death as a rallying cry to end gun violence in Sacramento.
“Teach them that gun violence doesn’t do anything but eliminate our culture,” said one speaker.
Around 4 miles away, his family reflected on Woods’ death in a more somber way.
“It was definitely unreal. It was something that was hard to take in,” said his cousin, Ajani Jackson.
“It was nice to be able to say we saw him one last time,” said his cousin, Shauntel Gould-Abercrombie.
That last time was the Fourth of July, a few days before his death.
His cousins said Woods’ family does a lot together. Monday, they had to bury their cousin together but they also wanted to remember Woods and honor his memory together.
“His aspiration to be great and to be there and do for his family,” said his cousin, Dionjiane Allen.
“Huge on family. A protector. Just very outgoing and loving,” said his cousin, Amatari Oyatedor.
While they mourned, they said there was a lesson to be learned so other families don’t feel the pain they feel. It was a lesson for Sacramento’s youth and for the person who pulled the trigger, ending Woods’ young life.
“That hurts and you know you preach it. Stay out of the streets,” Gould-Abercrombie said. “Youth need to understand there’s only two ways out: There’s either death or there’s prison.”
The family made it a point that they’re not going to rest until the person responsible for Woods’ murder is found and arrested. They’ll be checking in often with the Sacramento Police Department.
Woods’ death has also inspired them to become active in the community.