SAN DIEGO - Any crime, regardless of how big, small or how horrible it is doesn't affect just one person. Violent crimes go beyond the victim and hurts everyone leaving angels in the wake.
Xavier Torres is the 2-year-old son of the late Adam Torres. During the 18th annual Tree of Angels ceremony, Xavier approached a table where pictures of deceased victims were lined up.
Xavier grabbed the picture of his father, his angel. A picture of someone he can never touch again, of someone who was taken from his life to soon because of a violent crime.
Xavier along with his family were part of the annual ceremony Wednesday where crime victims and their families placed angel ornaments on a Christmas tree, at the San Diego Civic Center, dedicated to victims of violent crimes.
“No amount of money can ever replace the horror and or replace the loss of a loved one,” said Ryan Guillen, State Representative, District 31 and the keynote speaker for the night. “And so as we do tonight and everyday we must continue to strive to bring justice to victims.”
The Tree of Angels was started in Austin by Verna Lee Carr, executive advisor of People Against Violent Crime, to recognize that the holiday season is a difficult time for victims and their families.
Attendees listened to Rebecca Torres, aunt to murder victim Adam Torres of Freer, and Venessa Lopez, victim of crime assistance program coordinator.
Lopez describe how she came to know Adam. Adam and his family had been referred to Lopez after he was assaulted in his hometown.
Some time later, Lopez was notified that Adam had passed away after he was stabbed in Nueces County. In early October, Adam was stabbed in the chest outside a pool hall on the 5400 block of Leopard Street. He was taken to a Corpus Christi hospital where he passed away 10 days later from his injuries.
Police arrested 30-year-old Michael Andrew Scott on murder charge in connection with Adam's death.
Rebecca shared the story of her families loss with approximately 100 people who understood the impact violent crimes had on families and friends who were left with hearts filled with grief.
“He loved to barbecue. He loved making people laugh and was a very outgoing person...,” she said holding back tears. “He'd bring joy to anyone if they were feeling down and he was an amazing father. He had six kids....Most of all he had a big heart.”
After she finished speaking, crime victims' family members lighted the three candles of peace, hope and healing.
A proclamation by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott that proclaimed Dec. 4 through the 10th as Tree of Angels Week in Texas was read by Freer Mayor Arnold Cantu.
“Holidays should be the most joyous time of the year, but it can be especially difficult for individuals and families that have been affected by violent crimes,” Cantu read.