Hundreds of Crosses in Dothan Represent Loved Ones Lost to Murder

Hundreds of crosses stand witness to the toll of violence in Alabama that has claimed more than 300 lives so far in 2019. (Source: WTVY)
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -- It's a tragic situation. 14 people have been murdered in the Wiregrass in the past year. 300 in Alabama. That's why the Angel House which works with crime victims has put hundreds of wooden crosses on the side of a busy Dothan road.

Each cross along Main Street represents 10 family members who lost loved ones to murder. 221 photos on the wooden crosses and their families hope people driving by will get a sense of their pain.

"You never get over this, never," said Susan Kennedy.

Kennedy lost her 23-year-old son Paxton in 2016 during a crime in Wicksburg.

"You don't have the right to take anyone’s life it doesn’t matter if its robbery," said Kennedy.

It's something she says should have never happened.

"He’s a real caring kid, he loved everybody it really infuriates me that someone can take his life -- he never even met Paxton -- because if he did he would have never have done that," said Kennedy.

Wiregrass Angel House Director Shelley Linderman has helped hundreds deal with the worst of times.

"People all look so normal, well they were normal they were normal people doing everyday life and then someone made the decision to kill them," said Linderman.

She works every day to turn tragedy to triumph.

"It’s about learning to respect other people's place and learning how to have disagreements without bringing guns into the mix," said Linderman.

Because families are changed forever -

"This one, this is the third trial for the person that killed him now every time it comes up they have to relive it," said Linderman.

She hopes this display starts a conversation.

"People slow down it gets people talking, talking about gun violence, no regard for human life, and how precious life is, it affects everyone," said Linderman.

Kim Fields lost her brother in 2014.

"It's something that should have never happened and shouldn't happen to anyone we should be able to go out and enjoy our evening with friends without our evening turning into a crime scene," said Fields.

She's made it her mission to let everyone know violence isn't the answer.

"If he was here today he would say let's come together to get rid of senseless crimes that's taking people away from their families and let's pull together and be better people," said Fields.

And while this is never where you want to see your loved ones - Susan says the cross has helped heal

"... at least he's not forgotten every year he's put out with everyone else to let everyone know every one of these people mattered," said Kennedy.

All of the crosses were made by volunteers Dana and Mark Weed. They will be on display all month.

The Angel House is preparing for the National Day of Remembrance on September 25th.