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Just one day after the horrific massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, hundreds of teens gathered at Miami's Braddock Senior High for the third annual Run for Respect. Family members of slain teenagers Jaclyn Torrealba and Christian Aguilar attended the event and spoke with NBC 6 South Florida about violence prevention.
Just one day after the horrific massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, hundreds of teens gathered at Miami's Braddock Senior High for the third annual Run for Respect.
"My prayers go out to the families out there because this pain is a continuous pain,” said Torrealba’s mother, Vilma Castro. “Parents who lose their children in regards to violence, it's devastating."
Torrealba, 18, was brutally murdered in 2009 by a man believed to be her friend, prosecutors said. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole in July.
Aguilar, a new University of Florida student, was found murdered in Levy County. His friend and former classmate was charged in his death.
Saturday’s run honored the two by teaching young adults that violence is not the answer.
"If they see something wrong, they need to come to their parents, their school teachers, tell somebody trying to prevent that somebody loses their life because somebody else is angry," said Aguilar’s father, Carlos Aguilar.
Castro spoke with NBC 6 South Florida about the red flags of a violent person.
"It's very difficult because it's someone who has problems with their impulse control,” she said. “They don't know how to control their anger. Their anger is focused on whoever, whoever is there at that moment. Pretty much it's planned, and unfortunately we have a lot of innocent young adults, young teenagers and children that are being murdered as a result."
Kattia Castellanos, a victim advocate with Coral Gables Police, said domestic violence is a disease.
"Domestic violence is not only a family problem, not only a police matter, not only a school matter,” she said. “It is a disease of our communities, of our whole nation. Every nine seconds, one of our teens is victimized in the hands of the person that they trust."
Aguilar agreed, and called the slayings an epidemic.
"Tragedies like the one that happened yesterday cannot continue to happen,” he said. “It's like it's an epidemic right now. You see violence all over the place and nobody's doing absolutely nothing about it."