Remembering the victims of violent crime

Apr. 28—ANDERSON — One by one the names of the victims of violent crimes, domestic and child abuse were read during the second annual Prayer for Peace.

Family members and friends gathered Tuesday at Citizen's Plaza Park to remember and honor those that have died as a result of violence during National Crime Victims' Rights Week.

As has become annual tradition, crosses were placed around the park with the names of victims.

Matt Shahnavaz, whose son Noah died last July while on duty as an Elwood police officer, said his son made the ultimate sacrifice.

"There is not a day that goes by when I don't replay the last interaction I had with Noah," he said. "I wish there had been more interactions."

Shahnavaz said he was busy that day getting ready to go on a boating trip.

"Life is too short," he said. "There is evil in the world that can still rob us of a good life. Evil is still active, but evil has already been defeated. Take the fight to darkness."

Laurie Shahnavaz said the worst thing to happen as a mother was the loss of her son.

"The second worst thing is for people to forget him," she said. "We deserve the full measure of justice. Honor loved ones by striving to make the world a better place."

Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings said the event was a sobering moment.

"I have involved in most of my career with crime as a police officer and a prosecutor," he said. "We stand up for victims.

"This is a challenge for us," Cummings said of the Victim Advocates that work in Madison County. "It's one of the most important things we do."

Anderson Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr. said he also has spent a good part of his life dealing with crime as an attorney and prosecuting attorney.

"The names are familiar to me and Rodney," he said of the victims. "It's important we remember how it effects family, friends and the first responders."

Broderick said the Victim Advocate program was started in the 1980s and has grown over the years to protect victims of crime.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.