The shattered Illinois community of Highland Park has gathered for a series of heartbreaking memorials and vigils — some led by pastors from the church that troubled mass-shooting suspect Robert Crimo III had attended for years.
Many expressed outrage at yet another mass shooting, with one sign reading, “Thoughts and prayers are not enough.”
Among those first to address mourners were pastors from Christ Church, where suspected mass shooter Crimo III, 21, worshipped for years, an official confirmed to the Chicago Tribune.
“It’s hard to thank God that you’re still here when so many people lost their lives,” the church’s worship leader, Andrew Gadsden, told a vigil.
Gadsden told the Tribune that it was “very important for us to be able to come together to unite for the cause, in this case, of healing.”
It was also a time “to pray for those that were involved, to pray for their hearts and their minds,” he said, without naming the congregant who has been charged with seven counts of first-degree murder.
Christ Church was unable to open its doors to its 100 congregants because it was still roped off near the shooting scene a few blocks away, its executive director of communications, Jill Carter, told the paper. It instead held a service in the gym of a neighboring church.
Also Tuesday, more than a hundred people gathered at North Shore Congregation Israel synagogue, where a woman read the names of the six identified victims, the report noted.
“Jewish tradition teaches that each life is a world,” the woman said. “Yesterday and today, seven whole worlds were destroyed.”