Two young women brought their own candles to the Penticton & Wine Country Chamber of Commerce and the Ooknakane Friendship Centre’s candle light vigil in Gyro Park on April 17. The evening was meant to show support for the family and friends of the April 15 shooting victims. (Jordyn Thomson - Western News)

South Okanagan city unites for candlelight vigil honouring shooting victims

Hundreds gathered to support the grieving family & friends of the victims from the April 15 shooting

Hundreds of people gathered in Penticton’s Gyro Park for a candlelight vigil to remember four people who were shot and killed earlier this week and to offer support to one another.

Kim Kirkham, executive director of the Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce, said the city is having trouble coming to terms with the violence.

“Any store I walk into — restaurants, coffee shops — people are talking about it. It’s affected everyone,” she told Canadian Press.

The Penticton & Wine Country Chamber of Commerce hosted the vigil in partnership with the Ooknakane Friendship Centre. Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki, Penticton MLA Dan Ashton as well as Penticton RCMP Supt. Ted De Jager all addressed the attendees and expressed their deepest condolences, as well as their pride for the community’s response to the tragedy.

READ ALSO: Alleged Penticton gunman seen ‘angrily yelling’ before opening fire, witness says

“What I hear the most (from my constituents) is that we should continue to be bound together like we were on Monday. I’ve never been as proud of Penticton as I was on Monday. The people came together to protect each other and make sure everyone was safe,” said Vassilaki. “I just hope this will continue in the future, not just in the near future but for a long, long time to come. So that we can go forward and what happened on Monday.”

Two women share a heartfelt embrace at the candle light vigil in Penticton’s Gyro Park on April 17 for the shooting victims from Monday’s attack. The vigil was hosted by the Penticton & Wine Country Chamber of Commerce and the Ooknakane Friendship Centre. (Jordyn Thomson – Western News)

In the wake of the incident, many members of the community came together to praise the efforts of the city’s first responders in handling the situation so effectively. Officers that were posted to secure the crime scenes in the days following were brought coffee and food, while others took to social media to offer their gratitude to the RCMP and other first responders, coining the hashtag #PentictonStrong.

Matthew Baran, executive director of the Ooknakane Friendship Centre said it’s not uncommon for the community to rally behind others in times of tragedy.

“We’re a strong community and this is part of the process of how we will rise up from this,” he told Canadian Press.

READ ALSO: 4 victims killed in Penticton shooting spree remembered at vigil

Vassilaki praised the RCMP and their handling of the tragic events on April 15.

“As the Penticton police, this is what we train for is if something like this were to happen. And if it were to happen again, we expect the same co-operation and understanding from the city,” said De Jager. “And the people of Penticton were excellent when it came to what we asked them to do. There was another incident in the afternoon that turned out to be completely unrelated and it just continued that need to ensure that we had access to the streets and were able to move around the city very quickly.

Megan Nixon and her son, Brayden Steves, 5, attended the candle light vigil in Penticton’s Gyro Park to honour the victims of the April 15 shooting.(Jordyn Thomson – Western News)

“Just the outpouring of support, when those incidents are actually happenning, and also afterwards. Bringing coffee to officers on scene, hugging witnesses and offering to take care of people and family members. That’s the true measure of our community, that’s what we appreciated and that’s why we’re here tonight.”

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
JordynThomson 
Send Jordyn Thomson an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

CSRD applies for funding for a composting program at Revelstoke Landfill

BC Organics Infrastructure Program is taking applications for a maximum of $300,000

PHOTO GALLERY: Timber Days takes over Centennial Park

Revelstoke Timber Days has come and gone. The logger sports competition took… Continue reading

Roads and weather in Revelstoke today

Scheduled construction: Highway 1 east: Bridge maintenance between Skunk Cabbage Boardwalk and… Continue reading

Cost jumps 35% for Trans-Canada Highway widening in B.C.

Revelstoke-area stretch first awarded under new union deal

WildsafeBC comes to the Okanagan to reduce wildlife conflict

Bear activity on the Westside has been an issue in the past few weeks

Kelowna toddler suffers cracked skull after fall from balcony

Neighbour who found the two-year-old boy said he has a bump the size of a golf ball on his head

Black bear spotted near Salmon Arm elementary school

The bear was sighted at around 4 p.m. after school was out

Multiple black bear sightings in residential area near Okanagan elementary

Pictures of the bear have been posted on the Armstrong Community Forum frequently

RCMP probe if teen was intentionally hit with ski pole by mystery skier on B.C. mountain

The incident happened on March 20 on Grouse Mountain. Police are urging witnesses to come forward

Pipeline protester chimes in on Justin Trudeau’s B.C. fundraising speech

The government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion

Baby boom seniors putting pressure on B.C. long-term care: report

B.C. leads Canada in growth of dementia, dependence on care

UPDATED: B.C. man says he’ll take People’s Party lawsuit as far as he can

Federal judge shut down Satinder Dhillon’s ‘nonsensical’ motion to bar use of PPC name in byelection

Canada stripping citizenship from Chinese man over alleged marriage fraud

The move comes amid severely strained relations between Ottawa and Beijing

Most Read