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Public Gathers for "Ceremony of Support and Gratitude"

Public Gathers for "Ceremony of Support and Gratitude"



Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

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Samantha Hayes ReportingChurch bells rang, bagpipes played, candles burned and community leaders spoke words of encouragement.

"We will not allow tragic events to rule our lives and prevent us from participating as community members in this great, great city."

Public Gathers for "Ceremony of Support and Gratitude"

It was part of a ceremony to help the community heal from the tragic and traumatic events that unfolded Monday night at Trolley Square. A gunman killed five people, and while four others recover from their wounds, the community needs some mending, too.

Thursday night we heard from several community leaders. The Bosnian ambassador to the U.S. also spoke, but some of the most meaningful sentiment came from folks who just wanted to thank the police officers and support the families of the victims.

Standing on the library stairs, the police officers who took a vow to serve and protect did just that Monday night. It was their turn to be supported, and in the crowd below, perhaps no one was more proud than Jack Olsen. His son is Brett Olsen and his son-in-law is Josh Scharman, both officers who were involved in the shooting.

Public Gathers for "Ceremony of Support and Gratitude"

Jack Olsen: "Especially when you get a phone call when you are watching TV saying your son is involved in this shooting, both of them, and just sit there the rest of the night and try to figure out what is going on. I know exactly what they are going through."

They are the families of the victims. Among them was Kirsten Hinckley's family and Vanessa Quinn's family. They also feel support from many people they don't even know.

Ruth Jolley: "We are just here to honor the lives lost, and you can just imagine that if it were your own, how you would feel about it."

The Bosnian Ambassador to the U.S. said she struggled with what to say to the victims.

Bisera Turkovic, Bosnia-Herzegovina Ambassador to the U.S.: "Words cannot describe the grief I hold in my heart. This is the hardest role of my tenure here in the United States."

For those youngest members of the community this was a way to temper a terrible memory.

Becky Briggs: "Just wanted to show my kids how the community comes together. They recognize the police officer from the TV."

Many people repeated the same feeling, that it could have been anyone in the mall that night and that, unfortunately, sometimes tragedy reminds and reinforces what is important.


Tonya Papanikolas Reporting
6:00 p.m.

The public will gather to recognize the victims of Monday's shooting at 6:30. The service was supposed to be held outside, but has been moved inside the main library to the Urban Room because of the weather.

It's going to be a candlelight ceremony to show community support. Merchants are donating candles for people to light on the main floor of the library. They're expecting about 1,500 people to show up.

People have already been bringing flowers and cards to Trolley Square to remember the shooting victims.

At Brighton High where 15-year-old Kirsten Hinkley attended school, students recognized their friend with chalk art tributes, posters, cards and red ribbons.

Tonight Salt Lake Valley churches will ring their bells right before the memorial, at 6:25, to commemorate the people who died in the shooting.

Jeffery Walker, Vanessa Quinn, Kirsten Hinkley, Teresa Ellis and Brad Frantz all lost their lives when the gunman opened fire at Trolley Square.

Mayor Rocky Anderson has spoken with many of the victims' families. We are told some of them will probably be here tonight. They've left space on the program for a family representative to speak, though that is still tentative at this time.

The mayor's office says they felt this ceremony was important for the victims, for those who were at Trolley Square that night and for the public.

Patrick Thronson, Office of the Mayor: "We wanted to reach out to everyone to let them know the whole community is here for their support - and also reach out to the Bosnian community that's been affected by this - and make sure this event doesn't have further repercussions that might divide our city."

The governor, the city mayor and the county mayor will all be speaking here tonight, along with the Bosnian ambassador to the U.S. and the police and fire chiefs.

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