FITZGERALD, GA (WALB) - A celebration and remembrance don't often go together, but for one family, a victim's legacy lives on.
Police say Craigory Burch Jr was shot and killed in a home invasion in Fitzgerald, months after winning the lottery. He would have turned 22 on Thursday.
Saturday, July 15, family and friends gather to celebrate his life.
"It helps us to keep his spirit and keep him...alive," Craigory Burch Sr., his father, said.
Burch Jr. was shot and killed in January 2016 after winning more than $400,000 in a lottery. Seven people were charged with his death. So far, three people have been convicted of his murder.
But today's cookout is meant to celebrate Burch Jr., not his tragic death.
"We hurt very much. And we're hurt deeply, but we do this in honor and memory of his birthday," Burch Sr. said.
Burch's mother, Leslie Collins, says this milestone even helps her heal.
"It makes me feel better because he was a good child and his family loves him. We love him a lot," Leslie Collins explained.
It's this love that gives Burch Sr. hope.
"One day all this pain and hurt will be...It'll be over," Burch elaborated.
Until that day comes, Burch Sr.'s friends and relatives will give him strength.
"We are going to get through this together. It's hard we all have our bad days and our bad moments, but we're a family," Burch said.
Burch hopes one day he'll be able to move on.
This year's event was the second annual birthday celebration.
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