More than one hundred people gathered Friday evening for a candlelight vigil to honor the life of Tamara Gliss, a 31-year-old Shaw resident and mother shot outside of her home on Monday.
Along the 600 block of O Street NW, where Gliss was sitting with friends when she was shot, orchids, balloons reading “I miss you,” and stuffed animals form a makeshift memorial on the sidewalk.
Between a playground and Gibson Plaza, the apartment complex where Gliss lived, her friends, family, and acquaintances filed into a basketball court for the vigil. A young man with a microphone called out, “Let’s get the whole neighborhood in here!”
Joining hands in a large circle, those assembled spoke overwhelmingly about the preservation of life. Many were wearing white T-shirts printed with Gliss’ smiling face.
“We have to face the reality,” Melvin G. Brown, a bishop who knew Gliss for years, said to the crowd. “It’s young black men killing young black men, and it has to stop. It has to stop.”
“What happened here is absolutely unconscionable,” Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen said. “We are not going to tolerate this. We are not going to let this happen.”
The Metropolitan Police Department is still looking for the perpetrator of the shooting, who was reportedly last seen on a dirt bike. Two days after Gliss’ death, local reporter Charnice Milton was killed waiting for a bus on Good Hope Road SE. Police say the suspect in that case, also on a dirt bike or moped, was shooting at someone else. The crimes are not believed to be connected.
“Some may be angry or vengeful. We ask people forgiveness for the perpetrator of this evil act. We ask for forgiveness because we don’t know how to do it,” Rev. Viola Bradford said. “This is our community at stake. Our families are at stake. Shaw is at stake. This is gentrification. Once they’re in here, they’re not going to care about you like you care about you.”
Moments later, a friend stood up to sing CeCe Winans‘ “Don’t Cry.” On the fringe of the circle, women fell to the ground in tears.
“She made you want to come outside and come sit down because she’d scream your name if she saw you from across the street. She wanted everyone to be outside and cool out,” said Torrey Burns, a coach for the basketball team Gliss’ son is a part of.
“She was the gap between all of the people we know. And I didn’t figure out why until recently. But she’s an angel. And she gave her life up to save all of us.”
Photo by Darrow Montgomery