Garden Grove

Candlelight vigil exhibits community

HUNDREDS gathered for a candlelight vigil Sunday night in Garden Grove’s Village Green for victims of the mass shootings in Las Vegas (Orange County Tribune photos).

By Jim Tortolano

A candlelight vigil for two local women and others killed in the mass shootings in Las Vegas drew hundreds to the Village Green Park in Garden Grove Sunday evening to reflect, pray and console.

Carrie Barnette, a 2001 graduate of Pacifica High School, and Candice Bowers, a Garden Grove resident, were among the 58 killed by gunman Stephen Paddock, who fired on the audience at a country music concert.

GARDEN GROVE Mayor Steve Jones.

Sunday’s vigil was organized by the Garden Grove Neighborhood Association in cooperation with the City of Garden Grove. City Council member Stephanie Klopfenstein served as master of ceremonies.

“It’s a time to spread love and light in a world that, at times, can show great darkness,” she said.

Mayor Steve Jones termed the shootings “horrific and disgusting.” He went on to emphasize the importance of community and awareness. “Garden Grove is a city of compassion. We are a melting pot of cultural diversity and yet we generally live together in peace and exhibit respect for one other. Our sense of community is strong here. And while our community spirit can be bruised and beaten at times, it will never be broken. Tonight is an indication of just that.”

He added, “we must not allow fear to control us. We are living in a changed world, and it is imperative to adapt accordingly and maintain a more heightened sense of awareness, now more than ever before. We must band together as a community and look out for each other at all times.”

Candles held in cups were lit to symbolize the vigil. Prayers were offered and songs were sung. Missy Mendoza, the reigning Miss Garden Grove, gave voice to “The Star Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America.”

Also addressing the crowd of about 500 people assembled by the clock tower at the corner of Main and Euclid streets was Garden Grove police Captain Tom Dare. The presentation of colors was made by the Pacifica High School NROTC.

Another candlelight vigil was held Sunday night at the Pier Plaza in Huntington Beach. Andrea Castillo of that city was also among those killed in the shootings outside the Mandalay Bay Hotel.

MISSY MENDOZA, Miss Garden Grove, sang at the vigil.

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