Growing memorial quilt honors victims of violent crimes

News

It was an emotional night for several families in Fresno. The Victims’ Memorial Quilt Ceremony unveiled the 2019 quilt, adding 10 squares to the hundreds representing victims of violent crime. 

The quilt started in 1994 and new squares are added every year, each one made by families of someone killed by an act of violence.

“They usually have a photograph of their loved ones and their date of birth and some of the special things that they remember about their family member,” Joy Thompson probation division director said Tuesday. 

For Lisa Kauls it was a montage of favorite pictures of her son Nick. He was shot and killed in the Fig Garden last summer. 

“Christmas, he was named after Saint Nicholas. That was our favorite holiday,” Kauls said pointing to a picture.

“It’s really sad in a way because my son was only 17 when they took his life. So this was a really big year. It would have been a really big year for him and myself — senior year, prom, we’re missing out on all that,” Kauls said. 

There were similar stories behind each square. 

“My son got murdered two years ago,” Rosie Wagner said. 

Rosie and husband Harold lost their son Mark Gassett. He was killed by alleged gunman Kori Muhammad during a 2017 shooting spree. 

“I don’t want him to be forgotten, because he’ll always be in my heart. That was my baby boy,” Rosie said. 

The Victims’ Memorial Quilt now represents 509 victims of violent crimes. 

“Unfortunately I think there are just too many, too many squares. We shouldn’t have this it should not be what it is,” Kauls said. 

Family and friends come together to honor their loved ones, but all hope their contributions to these quilts will be the last.  

The quilt in its entirety will be on display in the lobby of the Fresno County Plaza April 9-12. 

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