Hundreds gather for vigil remembering Highland Park shooting victims
HIGHWOOD, Ill. (CBS 58) -- With the alleged shooter behind bars, the Highland Park community is hoping to heal with vigils across the area.
Several hundred people attended one in the neighboring suburb of Highwood.
What we experienced here really hit home. Just as we saw in a Waukesha parade last year, candles were lit, speeches were made, and tears were shed.
If Highland Park had a sister city, Highwood is it. Highwood children go to Highland Park High School. The two communities feeling like one, especially now.
"I just want everyone to find a way to heal, find strength and for me that's together," said Highwood Mayor Charlie Pecaro.
"It's important to be together to be able to see each other," said Rabbi Michael Somer from Har-Shalom Congregation.
At the vigil, people tied messages of hope to what will be a traveling memorial.
"Totally heartbreaking. Highland Park is such a special community and everyone around us and the surrounding towns. I think everyone just feels destroyed," said Rachel Weil, who grew up in Highland Park.
The rooftop gunman who sniped on a crowded parade this Independence Day took seven lives and injured at least 38 others.
"I feel like now unsafe in my own home too so it's like I don't feel safe anywhere and no one should have to experience that," said Daphne Browdy, who grew up in nearby Deerfield.
Highland Park High School is now serving as a resource center. We saw young, grieving families going in and out like the Robles family, who ran for their lives on July 4.
"And I don't know what's going on and we were just running with my daughters and we have to stay in a place and stay safe," said Sarah Robles, who witnessed the attack.
Abandoned parade chairs, strollers and other items can be picked up at the high school all week. Counseling services are also available.
"Things are moving very fast and we thank you all for your patience in waiting for your personal effects to be released," said FBI Special Agent Shavon Johnson.
Anything left outside the FBI containment area can be picked up at city hall. There is a growing memorial just outside the crime scene, where residents come and go, some with tears, others with blank faces.
"But I don't think anything has disturbed me to the depths that this has," said Jeff Burklin, who witnessed the attack.
Resources here at the memorial are coming from these furry love bugs.
"And it's that silent calm in the chaos that these dogs provide," said Bonnie Fear of Lutheran Church Charities.