North Texans who graduated from the Parkland, Florida high school where a gunman opened fire killing 17 people and wounding more than a dozen others came together in prayer on Saturday evening.
“To see so many people come out tonight is just incredible,” said Eric Wolters to the crowd at the fountain at Legacy Town Center. “Watching the news the past couple days and seeing all the places we call home and that we’re familiar with has been pretty difficult.”
Wolters organized the candlelight vigil on Friday evening.
He estimates there are about 20 people in North Texas who attended Stoneman Douglas High School, including Laura Gayle.
“It’s hard. My mom lives 10 minutes from the school,” she said. “It’s my home. I grew up there. I spent 19 years of my life there.”
Gayle graduated in 2013 and met her now fiancé at the school.
She received constant updates from family and friends as the mass shooting unfolded and has felt many emotions in the days since.
“It went from shock to sadness to anger to being just so proud to be part of a community that can come together like this,” she said.
Most of those who attended the vigil did not previously know each other.
Each spent time talking to one another about their experiences at SDHS.
Flowers were laid next to candles that were lit in honor of those killed or injured in the mass shooting.
A Facebook group called “Mobilizing MSD Alumni” has been formed in the days after the tragedy.
It now has more than 8,000 members who vow to mobilize for changes in order to prevent another tragedy from happening.