Family, community, and leaders come together to create positive change after woman's murder

Loved ones of a woman who was murdered in northwest Atlanta are hoping to turn the tragedy into positivity. 

Alicia Merrell was shot and killed last Sunday. Since then, her family and loved ones have held a vigil every evening at the Magnolia Park Apartment Complex. 

Sonya Merrell, Alicia's mother, recalled the moment she found out her daughter had been killed. 

"I threw the phone down. I didn’t want to hear it. I told her she was lying," she said. "It took me a little bit to get here because they said I had to come and identify the body." 

Merrell describes her daughter as a bright light and full of kindness. 

"Every neighborhood she lived in, she left an impact," she said. 

Her family is now determined to carry on that legacy. 

"Let people know it won’t happen again and it can’t keep happening again. And if we want to have the change, we have to be the change we want to see," said Vanessa Cox-Logan, Alicia Merrell's aunt. 

She said the family has partnered with former and current city leaders and non-profits to do things like host family fun nights for families in the community and provide services.

"We'll offer things like free notary services and well also partner up with agencies that will help some of the agencies financially and partner with the Atlanta [Community] Food Bank," Cox-Logan said. 

Sonya Merrell said she hopes they can produce the changes in the community that will foster better environments for the younger kids and keep them out of trouble starting at an early age.

"They need mentors. These young boys are coming up without fathers and being raised by single mothers. And these mothers can’t do it by themselves. And the boys get out here and they get into mess," she said. 

Merrell's funeral will be held Wednesday at The Dome in the City at 1 p.m. 

The person responsible for murdering Alicia Merrell has not yet been caught by police. Please contact Atlanta Police Department with any information.

WATCH: FOX 5 Atlanta live news coverage


Sign up for FOX 5 email alerts

Download the FOX 5 Atlanta app for breaking news and weather alerts.