Isla Vista community mourns tragedy with candlelight vigil

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The Isla Vista community gathered together Saturday evening to mourn the devastation of the mass murder scene that unfolded Friday night by City College student Elliot Rodger, 22.

“Isla Vista has never been this quiet on a Saturday night,” said California State Senator, Hannah-Beth Jackson. “You win—I don’t ever want to see it this quiet again.”

People of the surrounding community came together for a candlelight vigil at Storke Plaza at UCSB. Almost 5,000 people said they were attending according to the vigil’s Facebook page.

Candles were donated by local religious organizations for the entire community to light in honor of the victims of the shooting spree that left seven dead and seven more hospitalized.

The vigil began with a moment of silence then was followed by the song “Amazing Grace,” bringing the crowd to tears.

The faces of all those present showed deep empathy and sadness that spread through the crowd as more supporters spoke to the hearts of the many shaken people attending.

As the crowd began moving through the streets of Isla Vista, people marched close together in a mass so extensive, ends met before the final location at Anisqovo Park was reached.

Those passing the multiple crime scenes during the vigil turned their heads with disbelief as dark emotions were struck. Bullet holes lacing the side of IV Deli Mart were filled with flowers.

Groups of the victims close friends arrived together holding flowers as well as one another.

People of all ages sat silently on the grassy hill behind Embarcadero Hall as the candles lit the once dark canopy displaying the pain inflicted by the massacre.

At Anisqovo Park, people were given a chance to speak publically about the incident.

The microphone was left silent for a couple of minutes after the floor opened up.

“Words do not exist for me to express just how sadden we are for what happened last night in Isla Vista,” said UCSB Chancellor, Henry Yang. “We are here to support and help each other. We are moved by the compassion and courage we’ve witnessed the past 24 hours.”

Many people stood strong as they addressed their grieving community. Words of inspiration and pain were spilled along with the crowds tears. All were respectful as they sat silently in sorrow.

As the Vigil came to a slow close, candles were placed at the scenes of these grizzly attacks and people gathered on the ground in shock.

The strength of the people was symbolically demonstrated as flames were doused by wind and strangers would relight them as a symbol of the spirit of the community reigniting its hope.

The vigil had a moment of dimmed joy as Adam Henry played “Lean On Me” on his guitar as all joined together to sing the lyrics in the illuminating orange glow of candle light. Tears and smiles were combined for a mixed atmosphere of raw emotions.

After witnessing the rampage first hand, UCSB student, Luisa Secco, attended the event, finally moving past disbelief of the entire situation. Secco mentioned that all of the people put themselves in the place of the victims and their loved ones. She was very proud to mention the respect and empathy shown by all.

It was said by a student that everyone has to look for the helpers in a situation like this to see how powerful they really are. The vigil volunteers were coached before the event and are available to assist all in need to find help and counseling. Grief counseling is available at the Student Health Services Office at both UCSB and City College.

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