Woman Who Founded Support Group Following Her Son’s Murder Dies, Her Family Says | Metro

“We come every year to pray to stop the violence,” said Steven Thompson (center) who kneels on the floor next to his mother Shirley Douglas at the 23rd annual New Years Eve candle light service for families who lost their lives to violence in 2014, Wednesday, December 31, 2014, at Williams Temple COGIC Thomson’s brother was killed in August 2009. Photo by Laurie Skrivan, [email protected]

Laurie Skrivan

ST. LOUIS – The founder and president of a long-standing Saint-Louis nonprofit dedicated to supporting families of homicide victims has died, according to a family member.

Jeanette Culpepper, 73, died on Sunday, according to her granddaughter, Asia Johnson, who also worked with the organization founded by her grandmother, Families Advocating Safe Streets.

Culpepper began the annual New Year’s vigils after having one for his own son, Curtis Johnson Jr., who was Asia Johnson’s father. He was killed at the age of 22 in 1991. At the time, Culpepper said she wanted more attention on her son’s murder and was disappointed at the lack of media attention.

The events brought together families, members of the public and elected officials. On New Years Eve in 2020, then Mayor Lyda Krewson attended, noting the high number of officials in attendance. That year, the city’s homicide rate was the highest in 50 years.

In preparation for the vigils, Culpepper would send letters to hundreds of families of homicide victims in St. Louis and St. Louis County for the annual candlelight event held at Williams Temple Church of God on Union Boulevard.

“It was his passion. He was a very honorable and respectable person, ”said Johnson. “Some people die at the beginning of the year and at the end of the year you don’t remember them. It’s like it’s temporary, but my grandmother has let these families know that someone cares.

Virginia S. Braud