Candlelight vigil held for Aztec school shooting victims

AZTEC, N.M. (KRQE) – The small community of Aztec gathered Thursday night to remember the two students killed in a school shooting in Aztec.

Saying the eyes of the nation are on Aztec tonight, community members were determined to show their unity and strength.

“For the ones who have lost their children, they need to see us. They need to see we care,” said Jenni Van Herwaaden.

Into the night, hundreds showed they care at a candlelight vigil in Aztec’s Minimum Park.

The shooting Thursday morning has shaken people in the area, but they say it has not defeated them.

The grandparents of one of the victims, Casey Jordan-Marquez, spoke.

“She’s love to see everybody here… To come see her. She loved everybody. If anybody was down, she was always there to try to bring them up,” said Casey’s grandfather.

Some were wearing shirts honoring the other victim, Francisco “Paco” Fernandez.

Casey’s grandmother also echoed how many feel about the shooting.

“This is something in our town that didn’t need to happen,” said Casey’s grandmother.

City leaders say they are focusing on healing.

“You know, one of the first steps to healing is accepting the grief. We have to accept that we’re grieving as a community and as families,” said Aztec Mayor Sally Burbridge.

The mayor reminded all community members to reach out and support each other in the coming days.

Community members are offering counsel through local churches in the coming days. Many are wearing stickers reading, “I Can Help.”

The state has also committed resources for counseling services through the school district.

Advocates will have applications available to apply for the New Mexico State Crime Victims Reparation Commission benefit. The CVRC may assist families in funding counseling services and medical bills that arose out of this incident.

Advocates will meet with parents of the children and school staff members at the 11th Judicial District Attorney’s Office at 335 S. Miller Ave, Friday, December 8, 2017. Two-time slots will be available. We request that families with the last names that begin with A – L come between 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. Families with the last names that begin with M – Z come between 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. If either of these times are difficult to attend, please feel free to call the Farmington Police Department victim advocates at 505-327-7701 or call the District Attorney’s victim advocates at 505-599-9810 starting next week, as Thursday and Friday may be difficult to answer calls due to assisting families.

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