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Port St. Lucie community gathers for vigil following city's 1st homicides of the year

Posted: 9:45 PM, Jun 24, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-25 13:32:38-04
Lines of vehicles filed into the Waterleaf Townhomes and Apartment Complex for a vigil honoring 7-year-old Amarilyss Martinez and 54-year-old Felix Rivera in Port St. Lucie on June 24, 2019.

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — The Port St. Lucie community is reacting after a mother admitted to shooting and killing her daughter and stepfather. Investigators have yet to determine a motive.

RELATED: Photos from the scene | Motive unknown for deadly shooting of 8-year-old girl, stepfather in Port St. Lucie

While Alyssa Marie Torres faces two counts of murder and remains in jail, people in the small city came in to show support for a family grieving.

Lines of vehicles filed into the Waterleaf Townhomes and Apartment Complex for a vigil honoring 8-year-old Amarilyss Martinez and 54-year-old Felix Rivera. Many of the attendees didn’t know the victims personally.

”We’re seeing it all the time everywhere, no matter if it’s in neighborhoods, our schools, office buildings,” said Kathy Merritt, a Port St. Lucie resident. "It's heartbreaking. I mean literally heartbreaking to hear something like this that could happen in our community - you know so close to home."

That’s how Merritt who brought her 11-year-old granddaughter to the vigil describes the year's first murder investigation in Port St. Lucie.

Investigators say on early Monday morning, Alyssa Marie Torres shot and killed her daughter and her stepfather. Investigators telling WPTV there were previous disturbance calls to the residence in the past but the incidents “were not criminal in nature.”

Detectives say Torres lived at the apartment for a couple of months and following her arrest is cooperating. Relatives are also being interviewed to determine a motive.

“We’re trying to figure it out ourselves,” said Veronica Martinez, older sister of Amarilyss Martinez.

“Eventually we’ll have justice,” added Detective Terry Henkel, Port St. Lucie Police Department.

But Monday evening was about honoring those killed. Torres makes her first court appearance Tuesday morning.