Victim's family, Governor Kitzhaber attend vigil after school shooting
TROUTDALE, Ore. -- The shooting at Reynolds High School sent ripples of sadness through the Troutdale community and beyond. Hundreds of people gathered Tuesday night to support one another and pray for the victim's family.
A student-organized vigil for Emilio Hoffman, the teen shot and killed Tuesday morning at Reynolds High School, was held at Walt Morey Middle School one mile from the Reynolds High campus.
Reynolds High School is closed until further notice. This time last year Hoffman was finishing eighth grade at Walt Morey so people went there to band together for him.
"It's going to affect everyone regardless of if we knew Emilio or not," said Jaylen Edwards, a senior at Reynolds High School.
Edwards said he didn't know Hoffman well. He sent a Tweet Tuesday morning, after the shooting and before Hoffman was identified as the victim, calling for students to have a vigil for the victim. Other students coordinated the vigil and helped spread the word.
"At the end of the day we can come together for a great cause and support Emilio and his family," Edwards said.
At least 500 people showed up to Walt Morey Middle School for the vigil. Everyone held candles and stood under a covered outdoor play area.
A few minutes after 8 p.m. police escorted Emilio Hoffman's family into the center of the crowd. His mother could be heard crying amid the silence, as family held her in their arms.
The crowd started singing "Amazing Grace." The words of the song were as raw as the emotions everyone at the vigil was feeling. The lights of the candles were flickering signs of hope that the Reynolds High School community will heal.
Governor John Kitzhaber also held a candle, and stood side-by-side with Hoffman's family.
A couple of hours earlier, four miles away in Southeast Portland, other people gathered at the Greater Portland Area Baptist church for another vigil.
Cindy Lewis didn't know Emilio Hoffman, or his family, but she still prayed.
"We have boys that graduated from Reynolds and we feel we needed to come and support," said Lewis.
State Senator Laurie Monnes-Anderson left politics behind and came to serve her community in a different way.
"I want to pray, I want to pray for the families. I want to pray for Emilio's family, and the teachers, and the students. It's a devastating thing to have happen," Monnes-Anderson said.
This kind of support goes a long way, but the question of why this happened is weighing on everyone's mind.
"We just have to make sure that we all stick together and have each other's backs," said Edwards.
That question might not ever get answered. At least Hoffman's family and the Reynolds High School community know they have each other for support.