A bell rang as names of people who lost their lives over the weekend echoed across a Springfield courtyard Monday evening.
The crowd bowed their heads in silence. Some held small candles as they gathered to honor those killed during two mass shootings that occurred only less than 15 hours apart.
A gunman killed nine people during a 30 second rampage outside a popular downtown Dayton night club early Sunday morning. Another killed 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas on Saturday.
PHOTOS: Springfield Candlelight Vigil
The Monday evening vigil in downtown Springfield was held at the fountain near the Courtyard by Marriott and dozens of people attended, including Springfield Mayor Warren Copeland.
Organizers say the vigil was the best way to show solidarity with the families and communities devastated by the recent bloodshed.
Bradley Minerd said his organization Indivisible organized the vigil that included friends and family members of two Springfield natives killed in the mass shooting in Dayton’s Oregon District.
The Springfield victims were Derrick Fudge, 57, who was enjoying a night out with his son Dion Green and Monica Brickhouse, 39, who was with her friend Beatrice Warren-Curtis, 36, who was also killed that morning.
“(My father) was in Dayton because of me. We went out that night and had fun,” Fudge’s son Green told the crowd Monday evening. “He was being my dad. He was just being himself.”
As tears came to his eyes, Green recalled shots being fired and his dad laying in his arms.
“Dad get up, get up. I got him in my arms. ‘Get up dad.’ He’s just looking at me breathing. I just lose it,” the grieving son said as he stood next to family and friends. “But if y’all know my dad, you know that he would give his shirt off his back. He would do anything that he can for anybody that he knows.”
Also in the crowd was Brickhouse’s aunt Debra Brooks.
“She was my sister’s only child,” she said. (Brickhouse) had one son who she left behind. I want everyone to pray. Pray for our community and for our families because it hurts. It’s going to be a while and it’s going to take God.”
The gunman Connor Betts, 24, of Bellbrook was killed by Dayton police within a minute of the incident starting.
Minerd said his organization was formed in 2017 and advocates for several social issues including gun control. He said the group believes that there is too much gun violence occurring in the nation and urged members of the crowd to reach out to legislators.
“It’s necessary to do vigils like this because it shows the flaws in our system. There is a problem and we as a community have to wrap around it and fix it,” he told the News-Sun as the vigil came to a close.
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