DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — It was a year ago this week when 26-year-old Otha Ray Watson was shot and killed in Durham and Saturday his family and friends gathered to remember him and raise awareness about gun violence.

Watson was shot and killed on Sept. 13 at a car meet outside of the Cook Out on Hillsborough Road.

Since then, Durham police have arrested three people in this case, but they have not yet gone to trial.

On Saturday afternoon, family and friends released doves and balloons in Watson’s memory.

His mother, Ronda Watson, said she also wants to raise awareness about the ongoing problem with gun violence in Durham.

“I don’t think he’s resting, because we haven’t had any results as far as the case goes,” Watson said. “I just wanted to honor him today and let him know it’s OK.”

Watson’s coworker, Kendrick Moody, also put together a portrait of a gun inside a casket, as he said they want the community to “bury the guns” and end the violence.

“We’re trying to send a sign over to our youth to stop the gun violence because they’re taking lives and not realizing they’re hurting families and children,” Moody said.

Homicides are up this year in Durham as 29 people have been shot and killed so far this year, according to recent data from Durham police. That’s a 38 percent increase from the 21 people shot and killed at this same time in 2020.