(BATON ROUGE, La.) — The aunt of Alton Sterling and the father of a slain Baton Rouge police officer met, embraced and prayed together at a growing makeshift memorial in the city on Monday evening — a powerful scene that was caught on video by ABC News.
The two are both no strangers to grief.
Hosea Jackson lost his son, Baton Rouge Police Officer Montrell Jackson, in a shooting on Sunday that left two other city police officers dead and three other officers injured. Sandra Sterling lost her nephew, Alton Sterling, just 13 days before that shooting. He was shot and killed by a city police officer.
Despite the differences in the ways both lost their loved ones, the two came together Monday evening and expressed love and support for one another.
Sandra Sterling told ABC News that she was “hurting” for the families of the slain police officers.
“I know what they’re going through,” she said. “I want to hug them and let them know that I know and understand.”
Sandra Sterling added that though she and her family were going to continue peacefully protesting for justice for her nephew, she wanted people to continue praying for the families of the slain and injured police officers in the city.
Hosea Jackson told ABC News he “had a great loss losing Montrell,” who “died doing what he loved — police work.”
“He was a gentle giant,” he said. “I love him so much, and I miss him so much.”
But the death of Alton Sterling also hit home for the father of the slain cop. Hosea Jackson said he lived only one block away from where Alton Sterling was shot and killed by police.
“I feel so sorry and so hurt, and I see how this unfolded,” he said. “And now it’s my son a couple weeks after that. … It’s just awful. It hurts.”
Both Hosea Jackson and Sandra Sterling told ABC News they wanted to see an end to the violence in their city.
Denise Marcelle, a Louisiana state representative who joined the two at the memorial on Monday, told ABC News she wanted to ask people “to please stop the violence, please stop.”
“Violence shouldn’t beget violence,” Marcelle said. “It doesn’t serve any purpose. Just as [Alton Sterling’s] family is hurting, now we have many [the families of the slain officers] hurting.”
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