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Mother of slain 18-year-old promotes unity, community at vigil

Curtis Gray was killed April 13

Curtis Gray was the victim of a shooting death on April 13. Photo contributed.
Curtis Gray was the victim of a shooting death on April 13. Photo contributed.


PALM COAST, Fla. – Carmen Gray isn’t mourning alone after the death of her 18-year-old son Curtis.

On April 13, Curtis Gray was shot and killed near a laundromat in Palm Coast. 

The boy accused of the shooting, 17-year-old Marion Gavins, turned himself in days later. 

But Sunday was about how to move forward.

“I celebrate my son’s life,” Carmen Gray said. “He lived with us for 18 years and as you can see, he lived a full life.”

After her son’s death, Gray said she wanted his memorial to serve as a link to help others, one that would offer outlets for people to grieve and know what resources are available and how to access them. 

For her, this wasn’t an effort she could accomplish on her own. 

“Huge statement to the community and the community surrounding Flagler County,” Gray said. “We wanted to showcase that a community could come together even in the midst of tragedy.”

Gray admits that while on the outside she appears calm, little chips break off as she remembers her son, a high school senior and athlete who was counting down the days to graduation. 

Gray said her mission now is to help others cope with the grief and trauma.

“I hope that with people, every step there will be commitment to be there for each other,” she said. “Strengthening our commitment and stand against violence.”