Local community holds vigil for families who have been impacted by crime in Central Florida

ORLANDO, Fla. — A flower rest at the root of each life lost at a vigil held for National Crime Victim’s Rights Week.


“When you lose a child, especially to gun violence, and don’t have a reason as to why someone took your child,” said Dinah Rodgers. “It’s hard to fathom that.”

Rodgers’ daughter, Bownana Rodgers, was killed in October 2021. She was found in Winter Garden on South Woodland Street.

“She was shot several times and was left for dead in the parking lot,” Rodgers said. “It’s unsolved. I don’t know nothing. Someone just took my baby from me.”

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Rodgers stood next to the family of 22-year-old Makayla Patterson. Patterson was killed at the Jernigan Gardens apartment complex. Multiple men pulled out weapons after a fight broke out and was streamed on social media.

“I feel bless to have other mothers around,” said Charlotte Davis. “I feel blessed to have this connection.”

Leading and supporting these families are women who are connected by circumstances. Charlotte Davis, Tuwanana Ware, and Deborah Willis.

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Davis’ son, Anthony Nixon, was killed in October 2022. Someone texted her a picture of her son’s body. Ware’s son, Dereck Cummings, was shot and killed in January 2023. Police say 21-year-old Daquan Woods and 28-year-old Bobby Houston Bridges tried to follow him after an event to rob him.

Deborah Willis’ son was killed at a metro station in South Florida while he was trying to help another man.

“The homeless man said he couldn’t run because he had a peg leg,” Willis said. “So my son stopped to help him. If my son had not stopped to help him, he would have been living right now.”

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Three people have been charged for Patterson’s death and two for Ware’s son, Dereck Cummings. Other families at the vigil are still waiting.

“I really would like to get some closure on this,” Rodgers said.

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