The family of a victim of gun violence on West Berry Street mourned and rejoiced with the community at a candlelight vigil on Jan. 23 at the University United Methodist Church, 2416 W. Berry St.

The victim — Zechariah Trevino, a 17-year-old Paschal High School student — died after defending his cousin Jan. 20 at a fast-food restaurant across the street just after classes ended.

“I’m a mother, I’m grieving, I’m hurting, but I have to learn to forgive and I have to still move on. Not only for myself but for the community,” Trevino’s mother Erica Trevino said. “People shouldn’t have to be afraid to go to the store, or to even get something to eat or just to leave the school. Gun violence ain’t OK.”

Erica Trevino and her family gathered with more than 250 people and celebrated the life of her son. She said Trevino was the prankster and jokester of the family. “He was our knight in shining armor. It’s crazy that he still is now,” she said.

Seventeen-year-old Trevino worked at the fast-food restaurant across the street from his high school. His coworkers showed up to the candlelight vigil in support of the family.

Erica Trevino said the incident was a tragedy on both ends and expressed forgiveness to the suspected perpetrators.

“I’m going to pray for you and I forgive you with everything that I have in me, and I only hope you find your way from here. I want to let you know that God is with you, too,” Erica Trevino said. “Your parents — they’re in my prayers.”

Beth Evers, University United Methodist Church pastor, emphasized the beauty of community at the candlelight vigil.

“The fact that everyone is pulling together and everyone is caring for one another has just shown through in really powerful ways,” Evers said. “Churches, civic groups, restaurants, the school, everyone has just come out. I hope that just sparked something in us that we keep that going — that we don’t forget that it’s not a one and done, but that we really embrace community again.”

In her 10 years as a pastor, Evers said, she has never been afraid of being a pastor at the church. She said she remains unafraid to be there. Instead, she felt joy in knowing that the community could come together to help each other.

“On Friday, we were all reminded that being in community means more than having your buildings across the street from one another,” Evers added.

Erica Trevino emphasized the support the family has received from the community. She continued to push forgiveness through the night.

“It’s a good thing that all of us came together as a community to stand strong,” Erica Trevino said. “I have to move on for me and my family, I have to have peace and I have to be able to show my children that actions and anger aren’t the way we handle it.”

Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. Contact him by email or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Cristian is a May 2021 graduate of Texas Christian University. At TCU, ArguetaSoto served as staff photographer at TCU360 and later as its visual editor, overseeing other photojournalists. A Fort Worth...