Volunteers and organizers said they were still dealing with what happened on Friday, but still wanted to come forward to help the community.
AURORA, Colorado – Not even 24 hours after the Hinkley High School shooting, community leaders, students and volunteers returned to the school for a Thanksgiving food drive to benefit a community that has had a tough week.
Nine students were injured in two shootings near high schools in Aurora last week.
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The first shooting took place on Monday in Nome Park, opposite Aurora Central High School. Six students were injured.
“It’s the kind of thing you consider to be a once in a lifetime thing,” said Reid Hettich, pastor of Aurora Mosaic Church.
But sadly, it happened again on Friday outside Hinkley High School, where police said three students were shot dead in the parking lot.
The shooting occurred as the community gathered nearby for a peace march in preparation for Monday’s shooting.
“So we called off the march immediately,” Hettich said.
Less than 24 hours later, the same land where students were injured now serves the community.
“They identified 140 families from Hinkley and East Middle School just down the street who could really be in need of a helping hand this Thanksgiving time,” Hettich said.
They provide everything you need to have a Happy Thanksgiving for those with two legs and four.
“Most of these bags here contain about six to seven boxes of dog food,” said volunteer Lupe Flores.
Everyone showed up to the event anyway, even though they were still shaken up.
“It kind of illustrates the strength of the community,” Hettich said. “You get together at times like this. And it’s something about the pain that’s just alleviated a little bit because you’re with friends and neighbors.”
Coming together to fight violence is something Aurora’s Youth Violence Prevention team has seen a lot over the past few days.
“This week has made my job more difficult,” said program manager Christina Amparan. “I see the direct impact of the young people who have been directly affected, of the families who have been directly affected but also of the whole community.
Those in attendance said it was a much needed distraction that they hope can help ease the pain.
Aurora’s Youth Violence Prevention team said it is dedicated to understanding what children need to fight gun violence. They strive to add more resources and continue to build relationships with community partners.
Aurora Police said a 16-year-old was arrested for the Hinkley High School shooting. His name is not disclosed since he is a minor, but he faces attempted murder charges. Police said he was not among those injured in the shooting, but it is still unclear whether he is a student.
Police said they identified two suspicious vehicles in connection with Monday’s Nome Park shooting and found one of those vehicles. No arrests were made in connection with this shooting.
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