PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Jennifer Rivera’s life was cut way too short when she was shot to death 19 years ago.
Rivera was killed when she was 15 years old. Prior to her death, she was set to testify against the now-convicted murderer who killed her friend and neighbor Hector Feliciano.
“Jennifer was taken from this world far too soon,” Providence City Councilwoman Carmen Castillo (Ward 9) said. “Her life and legacy is a call for all of us to stand up to injustice and to speak out against evil in every form.”
To honor her memory, the community came together at the Niagara Street park created in her name for a memorial service. The Jennifer Rivera Memorial Park is only a few blocks away from where she lived.
“You still feel the pain,” Major Oscar Perez said. “I remember vividly, we went to the house and we spoke to the mother.”
Perez was a detective on the case back in 2000.
“Our police department still feels this tragedy,” Perez said. “It was done at a great cost, the girl tried doing the right thing.”
As Rivera’s family gathers to honor her life, Perez said it’s important to remember what’s changed since her tragic death. He said the state now has more programs to protect people who come forward with information involving a case.
“Because of her, and incidents like that, there was reform,” Perez said.
Her family said they will never forget her legacy and how important it was to her to testify and tell the truth.
“You can see that the family carries her spirit,” Senator Ana Quezada said.