DENVER — There were 96 murders last year in Denver, surpassing 2020 by one homicide, according to figures from the Denver Police Department. Chief Paul Pazen said Denver has not seen such high homicide figures since 1981.
For each person who died, there are those who loved them, left with indescribable grief. Members of a Denver support group called "A Mother's Love" say the pain felt by mothers who lose their children never subsides.
"I don't think we're ever really happy again," said Angel Shabazz, who started the support group after her 17-year-old son, Davarie Armstrong, was shot and killed in July 2020.
When Shabazz first started the group, she said there were only around five members. Now, she estimated there are 17 mothers who are a part of "A Mother's Love."
"This was a perfect space for us to be able to be in, and share our emotions with no judgment, without anybody questioning us," said Shabazz.
Na'Tasha Paige is one of the mothers in the group. She said her daughter, Kalani Hayter, was killed on July 7, 2020.
"She was found shot to death in a truck that was stolen... It's a wound that will never heal. It will never heal, no matter how many years go by," Paige said.
Lindsay Williams said her young son, Jeremiah, died from complications related to a seizure. She called it the worst pain she has ever felt in her life.
“He just had a birthday. He would have been eight," said Williams. “I used to love Thanksgiving and Christmas and my son's birthday is right in the middle of all that. So, it was a wonderful time of year. And now, it's just a time of year that I wish I could skip through."
Ana Thallas' 21-year-old daughter Isabella has been memorialized in a park known as Bella Joy Gardens, near the ballpark neighborhood where she was killed.
“It is not the murderer that pays the life sentence, it is all of us. Without our child, we bear that burden for the rest of our life," Thallas said. “I died. I'm a different woman. I don't even know who I am. So, how are my other children supposed to know who they are? These women understand that.”
All of the women said the support group gives them a space to share their stories with people who understand. It is a bond they never wanted, but being together provides them with a sense of comfort.
“As much as friends and family genuinely care and they're grieving also, they just don't understand," said Williams.
Shabazz provided a list of the children who have passed in relation to the support group. Their names and the dates they died are as follows:
Anthony - 06/03/2016
Gator - 07/30/2016
Kashmier - 05/03/2017
Daelon - 12/12/2019
Donte Chambers - 05/25/2020
Isabella Joy Thallas - 06/10/2020
Xavier Sturges - 06/19/2020
Xavier Collier - 07/07/2020
Kalani Hayter - 07/07/2020
Moses Chaney Harris - 07/07/2020
Davarie Armstrong - 07/11/2020
Terry Griffis Jr. - 07/17/2020
Kyshana Thomas - 07/22/2020
Jeremiah Bland - 07/23/2020
Tiriek Allen - 04/04/2021
Shabazz said the group has been meeting virtually on Zoom. If any mothers would like to join their group, reach out to Colette.Bordelon@TheDenverChannel to be connected.