Family & friends host birthday vigil for 2013 murder victim

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- A stateline family is still searching for answers five years after their loved one's death. They’re now celebrating the life of Shaquille Zackery on his 23rd birthday with a vigil and hoping justice will be served.

"I just want to keep my son's memory alive and this is one way of doing it,” said Shaquille Zackery’s mother Innette Zackery.

Innette Zackery’s son Shaquille would have been 23 years old. He was murdered four and half years ago in the 1200 block of Winnebago Street. Zackery says the pain is just as strong as the day her son passed away.

"I was devastated. I’m like no, no this is not happening,” said Innette Zackery.

Shaquille's family and friends held a vigil to celebrate and honor him on his birthday. Shaquille's mother says she's still waiting for answers on who's responsible for her son's murder.

"I don't believe in cold cases. I believe in cold people not speaking out because people know. So there's no such thing as a cold case and hopefully before I leave this earth somebody will be able to tell me who did this to my son,” said Zackery.

Friends of Shaquille say they will never forget the laid back, loving father he was.

“I talk to him every day. Mentally, physically out loud. I talk to him. We talk,” said Shaquille’s nephew Keivon White.

Zackery says she knows nothing will bring back her son, but she knows he's looking down on his friends and family and is now their guardian angel.

"Don't worry we gonna be alright. And I know you in a better place even though I miss you so much, but you're really in a better place,” said Zackery.

Shaquille Zackery also left behind a daughter who Innette says gives her peace knowing she has a piece of her son. She says friends and family will gather again in October on the anniversary of Shaquille’s death.