CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Not a single person in the crowd of more than 50 had ever met any of the people whose photos were attached to the homemade lanterns -- but they felt a connection to the families of those faces.
Charlotte Homicide Support Group held a vigil for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre Monday night.
"You can't know this feeling unless you've lost a child like we have. It's something you can't explain," said James McGill, whose son, Ja'Ron, was murdered in 2009. "You send your child off to school or church or something and they don't come back the same as when they left you. There are no words to describe it."
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police and volunteers passed out stuffed animals and ornaments. People wore green and white ribbons -- Sandy Hook's colors -- and held candles while singing 'Amazing Grace.'
Organizers said members of the group wanted to hold a vigil so people could mourn the 20 children and seven adults murdered in Connecticut.
"They just need to know it's hard, but they are not alone. We are there for them," said McGill. "Those parents don't know us, we are there for them."