The vigil for Diamond Williams, the 16-year-old whom everyone called an angel, began with Pastor Michael Trotter Jr. instructing everyone to hug the person next to them, stranger or friend.
"You don't know what they're going through," Trotter said as more than 100 people — Diamond's family, teenage friends, neighbors and teachers — gathered in somber silence in a parking lot at Wabash Avenue and Liberty Heights Avenue Thursday evening. Diamond was found by her father in a stairwell near that lot just after midnight Friday, her throat deeply cut. She would die shortly after being taken to a hospital.
The 19-year-old man police suspected of killing Diamond, Shaquille Anthony, committed suicide near a basketball court in North Baltimore after her body was found.
Adults at the vigil said they wanted to send a message to the teens at the vigil to be kind to one another, to be aware of the importance of mental health, and that people care for them. One woman collapsed in tears, screaming that Diamond "didn't deserve it."
"We lost two children," said Trotter, referring to Anthony and Diamond, who he said lived a "blameless life."
"There are two families suffering," he said. "We are not each other's enemy. If someone needs help, help them."
The teenager died blocks from her house and across the street from her church.
Family members, friends and other acquaintances spoke of their memories of Diamond, a rising junior at Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School who was a cheerleader and enrolled in the school's nursing program. Her cheerleading coach said she felt like she was "missing a daughter," while others remembered Diamond's infectious smile.
Richard Gibson, the Baltimore homicide detective assigned to Diamond's case, told her family that after witnessing their anguish, he felt personally affected by the case.
"I became apart of your family that day," he told them. "When I saw your pain, I became emotionally involved. Because guess what? We're all apart of the same family."