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Violin vigil in Virginia honors Elijah McClain

McClain loved to play the violin for animals.

RICHMOND, Va. — A group of musicians, including several violinists, gathered in Richmond, Virginia Tuesday night to play a tribute to Elijah McClain.

At the base of the Lee Monument, the group played "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

The violin has become a national symbol for the 23-year-old, who used to play the violin for cats at the shelter.

RELATED: World-renowned musicians flying to Denver for 'violin vigil' in honor of Elijah McClain

McClain died on Aug. 27, 2019 – three days after he went into cardiac arrest following a confrontation with Aurora officers. He was detained after a report of a “suspicious person” in the area. McClain’s family said he had been walking to the store to get iced tea, and would usually wear a face mask when it got cold outside. 

Officers used a carotid hold on McClain and first responders later gave him ketamine, a sedative. He went into cardiac arrest in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. A coroner’s report found his cause of death inconclusive, and the 17th District Attorney’s Office declined to file charges against the officers involved.

RELATED: The death of Elijah McClain: Everything we know so far

Interest in the investigation into McClain's death has garnered national attention following the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and ensuing nationwide protests, which brought attention to police brutality and systemic racism.

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