Community gathers for vigil to honor Maine shooting victims

Approximately 150 people gathered in Lisbon Falls for an evening vigil, lighting candles as volunteers strolled around with trauma therapy dogs.

On the first morning that the shelter in place order was lifted, Randy Carin went to one of the sites where members of his community were gunned down Wednesday, including his high school friend Ron Warren.

“It’s a hardworking town, you know; it’s a lot of great people, like any community. Lewiston didn’t need this,” said Carin. “Ron Warren, we went to high school together. It’s been a while since I’ve seen him, but it’s tragic. Great guy. Anybody’s going to make you laugh, it’s going to be that guy.”

Robert McCarthy is a city councilor and has lived all his life in Lewiston. The mass shooting that killed 18 people in the city that he loves so deeply has left him and his constituents with a shattered sense of security.

“It’s going to be a long process to get over this,” said McCarthy. “Maine is the safest state in the nation. We were just named that on Monday, and we average 22 murders a year. And we’ve had 18 in the course of half an hour. So, it’s just something that’s surreal for us. We don’t see this kind of violence here. And it’s tough on everybody.”

Making this tragedy sting even more was the shelter in place that kept grieving neighbors apart from one another. Two days that people could have been together and holding each other were taken away.

“Absolutely. That’s probably the biggest part. And now it’s tough to reach out to some of these families because you don’t want to intrude on their grieving process,” said McCarthy. 

Now that the community can come together, resources are becoming available. At the local Ramada hotel, mental health professionals, chaplains, and Niko the comfort dog are volunteering their time to help residents process their feelings.

“Having a dog just makes everybody feel better,” said Rev. Lisle Blind. “We’re willing to do all sorts of things, but I think we’re also have a hard time asking for help. And it is perfectly normal, and it helps us get out of that isolation. It’s actually one of the best things we can do.”