People across the Coastal Empire are remembering a 19-year-old Savannah woman. Jennifer Ross was shot during a robbery attempt early Christmas Eve morning. Ross was walking through Orleans Square on her way home from a dance with a friend at the time. She died New Year's Day. Police still have not found her killer.
Her family and friends have been rallying the community to take back Savannah from crime. But today, they're focusing on remembering their daughter, sister and friend.
More than 500 mourners packed St. John's Episcopal Church on Madison Square and hundreds more gathered outside for a funeral they say should not be happening.
Twelve days after the shooting, her brother, cousins and friends are serving as the pallbearers at her funeral. Her former classmates from Savannah Country Day were chosen to be honorary pallbearers. Many of her sorority sisters and friends from Mercer University, who returned from winter break to find Ross absent, are here, hugging and comforting each other.
It is a tough time for all of them. No one expected this to happen.
"It was just a somber service that really showed you, you don't know how long you have," said classmate Nelson Lewis.
But clearly, no one was prepared for this. A young woman who was so vibrant and happy, whose life was cut short by a violent act of crime. "It was just very moving, very sad," said Lewis.
A number of funds have been set up in Jennifer's memory, including Jennifer's Justice Fund, care of Save our Savannah. If you would like to contribute, please contact one of the following agencies:
St. John's Episcopal Church 1 West Macon Street, Savannah, GA 31401
The Jennifer Ross Memorial Fund c/o University Advancement Mercer University 1400 Coleman Avenue Macon, GA 31207
Jennifer's Justice Fund c/o Save Our Savannah Martin Sullivan 116 Country Club Drive Savannah, GA 31410
The Memorial Health Foundation 4750 Waters Avenue Savannah, GA 31404