UPDATE: ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The families of the four people murdered in their home last year, just days before Christmas, say they've moved on and started healing. Now, Martia Flint and Demontae Rhodes' families are using their pain to prevent more crime.
"I had my grandchildren up until like 9:30 that night and two hours later I found out that she was killed," Rolanda Collins said.
Collins says these last 365 days have been the hardest of her life.
"I don't want to be lying in bed depressed today, when I'm knowing that they're in a better place, I want to celebrate life."
On December 20th, 2014, Collins' daughter Martia Flint (24), her two sons: Tyrone (6) and Tobias Smith (4) and Flint's boyfriend Demontae Rhodes (24), were shot to death in their home on Montrose Avenue.
"We're tired of losing our loved ones and this shows that our community can come together in a peaceful environment and be at peace,” Collins said. “We all want what's best for all of our children."
Collins' organization 'A Mother's Prayer' is celebrating their lives along with others killed this year. It’s a place for healing and hope -- offering solutions to put an end to domestic violence.
"Whatever she needs, if we can help, we'll help,” Maria C. Charles said. Charles’ granddaughter was killed in 2013. “Anyway we can."
"Whatever they need so that they can get out of this mindset that I'm going to get a gun and start shooting,” Angela Bowen, whose son was murdered in July, 2014, said. “For what, what's the purpose in that? Let's grab a book, let's not get a gun, let's read and learn about who we are."
Rhodes' family says they're also finding peace by helping others.
"My focus now is on the parents that are in the starting blocks of what we have already been through,” Calvin Rhodes said. “Demontae, there is nothing that anyone in this world can do for my son at this point."
Demontae's parents Calvin and Tiffney say they're not mourning their son's death. They say they celebrated Demontae’s life every day he was alive. Instead, they're focused on compassion; that includes forgiveness for Calvin Carter, the man charged in the quadruple murder.
"It has to be Hell. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. I have compassion for him because he is somebody's son,” Rhodes said.
"I look at him and I want to hate him but I can't; I don't want to forgive him but I do," Tiffney Rhodes added.
According to police, Calvin Carter had been in a relationship with Martia Flint but they had broken up before police say Carter killed the family of four.
ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The four people brutally shot last week will be laid to rest Monday as family and friends continue to mourn.
Rockford First on Springcreek Road will hold the visitation and funeral for 24-year-olds Demontae Rhodes and Martia Flint, and Flint's two sons, 6-year-old Tyrone Smith III and 4-year-old Tobias Smith. The visitation begins at 9am with the service starting at 11am. Rockford First is at 5950 Springcreek Road.
UPDATE: Rockford Police have recovered evidence, including a handgun, in the quadruple murder of a Rockford couple.
Police say the evidence and gun will be sent to the Illinois State Police Crime Lab for analysis. Detectives collected this after searching several homes in Rockford. No arrests have been made at this time.
Detectives are continuing to interview people who knew the couple.
24-year-olds Demontae Rhodes and Martia Flint, along with 6-year-old Tyrone Smith III and 4-year-old Tobias Smith, were all found shot to death in a home in the 3200 block of Montrose Avenue Saturday night.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call Rockford Police or Rockford Area CrimeStoppers.
UPDATE (WIFR) -- ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Rockford Police say they have several people they'd like to question in connection to a shooting on Saturday night in the 3200 block of Montrose Ave. Two adults and two children were killed when a gunman broke in and shot them.
"Those kids are the happiest kids I ever had the experience of meeting," Mekyial Collins, the brother of Martia Flint, said.
"I never thought it would be this early. We thought we would go before him," Demontae Rhodes’ Mother, Tiffney Rhodes, said.
The families of Demontae Rhodes, Martia Flint, and her two kids, Tyrone Smith III, 6, and Tobias Smith, 4, are starting the difficult process of moving on. Flint's family literally moving, taking belongings out of the home where the family of four was gunned down Saturday night, but leaving behind a memorial left by strangers touched by their deaths.
"They were some smart kids, very intelligent, loving," Zakia Flint, Martia’s cousin, said.
Tyrone and Tobias' smiles, family say, were as big as their personalities -- just like their mom.
"She was a loving and caring person," Collins said.
"Martia was outgoing. Martia had a great personality," Calvin Rhodes, Demontae’s father, said.
The Rhodes’ say their son loved Martia and her kids as if they were his own.
"Those kids, he picked them up from school, they were calling him daddy," Calvin and Tiffney recalled.
An athlete all his life, in 2009 Demontae took up boxing, quickly moving up through the ranks. His coach says Demontae's legacy of determination and hard work will live on in the fighters he trained with.
"Demontae made a difference in those kids life, and not just boxing. There were things in life, turns in life, transitions in life and he came through it and he let them know that they can do it too," Boxing Coach Patrick Coleman, said.
The Flint and Rhodes families are channeling that fighting spirit as they face a life without their loved ones.
"For this to happen right before Christmas, I just want some type of justice," Collins said.
Rhodes’ father says he forgives the person who killed his son, but admits it's going to be a difficult road moving past Demontae's death.
UPDATE (WIFR) -- Four people are dead after a shooting on Rockford's north side.
Rockford Police say 24 year olds Demontea Rhodes and Martia Flint along with Flint's two sons, Tyrone Smith III (6) and Tobias K. Smith (4), were gunned down last night in a home on the 3200 block of Montrose Ave on Rockford's northwest side, around 11pm.
Neighbors told police they heard someone pounding on a door, then that door being forced open, almost immediately followed by gunshots.
Police are still investigating this murder and we will follow up with any details as soon as they become available.
Rockford Police are asking anyone with information to contact the Rockford Police shift commander at (815) 987-5824 or Crime Stoppers at (815) 963-7867.
ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Rockford Police are on the scene of a shooting on the city's north side.
Police were called to the 3200 block of Montrose Ave. just before midnight.
Officers say several people were hit with bullets, but have not said exactly how many victims there are.
Check back for updates.