Monday, December 17, 2012

Tucson holds candlelight vigil to remember victims in Connecticut


Posted: Dec 16, 2012 3:45 PM Updated: Dec 17, 2012 5:13 AM

By Sonu Wasu – email


TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Tucson came together again on Sunday night, to remember the lives lost in Newtown, Connecticut.

The latest mass shooting re-opens wounds for many who are still coping with the aftermath of the January 8th shooting, outside Safeway.

A candlelight vigil was held at Roberts/Naylor middle school of S. Columbia Blvd.  The event was organized by Homicide Survivors, Inc.  Speakers included members of local clergy, U.S. Rep. Ron Barber, and TUSD School Superintendent Dr. John Pedicone.

Pedicone said it was fitting to hold the vigil at a local school, a place that everyone considered safe.  This latest act of terrorism and violence violated that safe haven, a place where futures were meant to be built turned into a place where futures were destroyed.

As a singer sang "Amazing Grace" dozens of Tucson residents gathered in a courtyard outside the school.  They formed a circle and lit candles.

They prayed, reflected, and heard words of hope from local Clergy.

U.S. Rep. Ron Barber who was injured in a mass shooting himself, addressed the crowd with his grandchildren standing beside him.

"I ask my grand kids to join me on stage because they're the same age as the children in Sandy Hook," said Barber.

Several parents attended the vigil with their children.  Kirsten Engle said she felt like she had to do something after hearing about the horrifying school massacre.

"I just, I can't even articulate it, it is so difficult," said Engle.

The names of every victim was read as members of Homicide Survivors, Inc. lit a candle in honor of each of their lives.

Dr. John Pedicone, school superintendent of the Tucson Unified School District said the shooting disturbed him as both a parent and an educator.

"Nothing can answer the question of why such a devastating act occurred," said Pedicone.

Brooke Bedrick attended the vigil with her children. Like others, she too felt the need to do something. She said she had talked to her children about the shooting, even though it was a difficult thing to do.

Engle said she chose not to tell her child the details.  "We did tell her a terrible thing happened and she asked where, I said a school, but that was all. Schools are the highlight of my daughters life.  I don't want her to be scared to go to school," said Engle.

U.S. Rep. Ron Barber said the shooting has lit a fire under him to fight for laws to prevent such tragedies from occurring again.  Barber said he planned to push for awareness and funding for treatment for those who are mentally ill, and he also planned to push for gun control.  Barber leaves for Washington, D.C. on Monday.

Those who attended the vigil got a chance to sign a card that will be sent to Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown Connecticut.

Copyright 2012 Tucson News Now All rights reserved.

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