NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — On Sunday, families gathered in Nashville to share personal testimonies as National Crime Victims’ Rights Week came to a close.
Carol Akers remembered losing her son, Jacob, to a drug impaired driver going more than 100 miles an hour back in 2014.
“The pain, depression, panic attacks, hopelessness,” Akers recalled. “I blamed myself, [was] angry at God, also. Very, very angry at God. And not wanting to really go to church, not wanting to pray. I prayed that night for my son to live on the way to the hospital.”
Now, after all these years, Akers has found a way to live on with the help of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, community resources, and some advice from her pastor.
“He proceeded to say how all of us experience pain in life, of some sort. It’s what we do with that pain that matters,” Akers said.
Ed Davis’ son, Chris, was shot and killed while working security at a retail store on Father’s Day in 2005. He recalled the police department’s family intervention counseling and group therapy for getting him through.
“I have been blessed to meet others like me that have lost loved ones to violence,” Davis said. “They remind me every day that I am not alone.”
The mother of Waffle House shooting victim Akilah Dasilva used the occasion to call for change.
“I’m disgusted, I’m angry, I’m tired of nothing being done to prevent another shooting from happening,” Shaundelle Brooks stated.
Officials encouraged all victims to come forward so their offenders can be brought to justice.
“It’s an incredibly revictimizing process experience too often,” Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk said.
Funk’s office works to remove those barriers through court advocates, victim witness coordinators, and the Office of Family Safety.
“They know that they’re not alone; they know that they’ve got the supports that they need; and at the end of the experience, they can move on through this to become survivors instead of victims,” Funk explained.
Metro Nashville Police Chief John Drake also shared that commitment, saying officers take these crimes personally until those responsible are apprehended.
“Whether the case is solved or not, we’ll keep relentlessly going after whoever committed this crime… to try to bring closure to the families,” Drake stated.
If you’re the victim of a crime and need resources, or if you’re nervous to come forward, you can contact the Nashville District Attorney’s Office at 615-862-5500.