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Emotional vigil for murdered teen follows violent weekend in Richmond

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -- Emotions were high Wednesday night, with a lot of tears, a lot of sobbing.

Garrick Ellis was a son, a nephew, a brother, or a friend to the hundreds that crowded the street.  And the way he died, haunts his family who say history has a way of repeating itself.

Garrick's buddy from the basketball team belted out a song before collapsing to the curb with emotion.  Then a woman took to the police P.A.  system to beg the youth in the crowd to change their ways.

Sadly, for the Ellis family, this is their second go at grief.

"Good to see love from everybody,” said Garrick’s aunt Nicole West.  “Just to know his dad is looking down."

Garrick’s father was killed in 1996 on North 22 street in a case that a judge ruled was justifiable homicide.

Garrick Ellis was born a week later.

"It's just bringing back memories,” said his grandmother, Parthenia West.

Just ten days before his father’s birthday, the rising senior at Thomas Jefferson High School was murdered at a party off Brookland Park Boulevard and Fourth Avenue.   Garrick was one of two people shot to death over a violent weekend in the city.

Five others survived shooting injuries.

So is Richmond safer or not?

"The fact of the matter is, when you have a violent weekend it exacerbates the problem and appears chaotic, but the numbers say crime is down."

Those are the words of Deputy Chief Eric English, who says through concentrated policing and initiatives like the Fugitives and Firearms Task Force, they are aiming to remove illegal weapons from the grip of criminals.

"It causes us to look at ourselves and the deployment of officers and question if we are in the right area, or do we need to move personnel to accomplish what we have to?" said English.

Those out at Garrick Elli’s vigil Wednesday said they were also on a mission: to change the culture of violence that is ripping their families apart.

His aunt Nicole urged whoever killed her nephew to come forward.

Police say if you have information that can help with this investigation, call Crimestoppers at 804-780-1000.