CANTON — Family and friends of a victim of domestic violence who was killed in Canton in 2012 gathered at the Cannon Park gazebo Thursday night to remember her with a candlelight vigil.
Dejanirra “D.J.” Elrod, 19, died in July 2012 after being shot by her boyfriend, Trevor Lamont Nuckles, who was found guilty of murder in her death.
Elrod’s brother, Dean Gearing, introduced the first speaker at the vigil, Cherokee County District Attorney Shannon Wallace, who handled and prosecuted the case.
“Cherokee County lost a special young lady,” Wallace said. “Even though it’s been almost a year since D.J. was killed, the pain is still very fresh to her family and friends.”
Wallace said nobody can afford to “sit around and remain silent” about domestic violence.
“The sad reality is that the family of D.J. joins the ranks of 128 others in Georgia that lost their loved ones last year to domestic violence,” Wallace said. “We must all fight to end domestic violence. … There are many things that each and every one of you can do to help end domestic violence. First and foremost we must all create an environment of intolerance to domestic violence.”
Wallace said abusers must be held accountable for their wrongdoing and taught how to change their ways.
“Teach your children that love does not hurt,” Wallace said.
Elrod’s co-worker Macey Blackwell stood with five other teary-eyed co-workers, who worked with her at Emeritus Senior Living.
Blackwell said they all had a great relationship with Elrod.
“She wanted to care for people,” Blackwell said. “D.J. was an asset to our community.”
The Rev. Kevin Roach told the crowd that abusers try to control their victims, and said victims shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help.
“Domestic violence is not a black thing, it’s not a white thing, it’s not a Hispanic thing,” Roach said. “It does not have to happen. … One in three women experience domestic violence; that’s too many.”
Near the end of the ceremony, Elrod’s parents, Porta and Roy Elrod, held a candle as family, friends and others walked by and lit their candles for the vigil. Led by Elrod’s brother, the crowd blew out their candles all at once, in memory of the domestic violence victim.
A memorial fund was set up to help Elrod’s parents raise the victim’s toddler Daviorea “Jordin” Watts, who held his own candle at the memorial. To donate to the fund, visit the BB&T branch at 150 Prominence Point Parkway in Canton.