13-year-old murder victim remembered at vigil

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Friends, family, classmates, police officers, politicians, community activists and even some complete strangers gathered in Delaware Park’s Rose Garden Saturday evening to remember 13-year-old murder victim, Ameer al Shammari.

People were asked to wear white to the memorial, as a sign of peace.

“To raise awareness of peace and nonviolence, and try to work on one thing for the future. [To create a safe environment] for all newcomers, refugees and immigrants,” said Ali Kadhul, executive director of the Iraqi American Society which, along with the Buffalo Public Schools, organized the vigil.

Kadhul hoped the large turnout would show the al Shammari family that the community supports, and is grieving with them.

“What I see from Ameer, when he left this world, he did some change in the community,” Kadhul told News 4. “He’s a small boy, and the change that he did, I see the whole community come together. I never see these kind of meetings, being together, being as one family, very supportive. This is a great message that he left to the community.”

The memorial included songs, and a poem specially written for Ameer in Arabic. Delaware Park was chosen because it’s a place Ameer would sometimes come with his family, and where he played soccer.

“We hang out and play games and go to the pool and play,” said Bari al Okabi, one of the children from Ameer’s neighborhood. “I teach him English. He’s like a friendly person. I miss him a lot.”

The Iraqi American Society is also planning to plant a tree, in memory of Ameer.

“We use the tree – how much this tree lives and gives to the environment and the people – [as a] symbol,” Kadhul explained.

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