D.A. to Honor Victims of Violent Crime

RIVERSIDE – Riverside County District Attorney Paul Zellerbach will pay tribute to victims of violent crime during candlelight vigils planned countywide next week.

April 21-27 is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, which the D.A.’s office recognizes annually with special events.

This year, candlelight vigils will be held as part of remembrance services scheduled in Palm Desert, Riverside and Temecula.

Zellerbach will be hosting each of the ceremonies, during which family members of county residents slain in crimes going back 18 years will speak.

All of the vigils are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. The first will be held Tuesday at the Palm Desert Civic Center amphitheater, 43-900 San Pablo St. The mother of Jahi Lateef Collins, who was fatally shot during a 1994 attack in Desert Hot Springs, will speak. Her son’s murderer, Henry Lozano, was sentenced to death earlier this year.

The second vigil will be held Wednesday in Temecula at the Harveston Center, Harveston Lake Park, 40135 Village Road. The mother of Elizabeth Amirian will share thoughts about her daughter, who was fatally stabbed by her estranged boyfriend after being abducted, sexually assaulted and driven to a parking garage at the Promenade Mall in Temecula. A sheriff’s deputy witnessed the attack but was too late to prevent it. The perpetrator, Mickey Wagstaff, was sentenced to life without parole in 2012.

The final vigil will be held Thursday, beginning with a brief ceremony outside the Riverside Historic Courthouse, 4050 Main St., from which attendees will walk and gather at the Victims’ Memorial Courtyard, adjacent to the D.A.’s headquarters at 3960 Orange St.

The grandmother of 14-year-old Laraenz Simmons will speak. The Poly High School student was gunned down in a drive-by attack that occurred just as he reached the steps of his house after returning from school. No arrests have been made in connection with the February 2012 slaying.

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