MT. IRON, MN-- On the intersection of Falcon Ave and Cardinal St. in Mountain Iron is a memorial dedicated to Estavon Elioff, who was fatally shot by St. Louis County Sheriff's Deputies last December.
The site, once home to gifts, flowers, and lights continues to be defaced.
Seraphia Gravelle is the co-founder of Voices for Ethnic and Multicultural Awareness (VEMA), which set up the site.
She said the memorial is important to those still grieving the loss of Elioff, who was Hispanic.
"I believe that keeping this memorial intact and respecting that it's there shows people, especially in the Hispanic community, that their life does matter to someone here," said Gravelle.
Community activists say they will continue to restore the memorial until they find a more permanent home to remember Elioff.
Now, they are just asking whoever took his personal belongings to return them as soon as possible.
Things taken include Elioff's graduation cap and sash, teddy bear, and photos of him. These items are things that Gravelle said signified him and celebrated his life.
Gravelle hopes that the memorial sends a message that vandals won't keep them from celebrating a life lost.
"This is one of the ways we are telling all of the young people in this community, all of the Hispanic people in this community, that their life matters, and we're not going to stop saying it," said Gravelle.
On December 5th, 2020, 19-year-old Estavon Elioff was shot and killed in Mountain Iron by St. Louis County Sheriff's Deputies.
Elioff, from nearby Virginia, was a suspect in a shoplifting incident.
When he was approached by officers, a state report shows he fled into a wooded area.
Investigators say that's where he refused commands to surrender, then pulled out a knife that officers mistook for a gun.
Elioff was shot five times and died.
After a lengthy review, St. Louis County Attorney Mark Rubin cleared the deputies of any wrongdoing calling the shooting justified.
We reached out to the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office and Mountain Iron Police for an interview but did not hear back.
VEMA said they will be protesting Monday at Duluth City hall, calling for justice in Elioff's case.