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Vigil held for Herkimer County shooting victims

Twenty-four hours after families were warned to stay inside their homes, hundreds of people came together in Mohawk to begin the healing process together.
Mohawk (WSYR-TV) -- Twenty-four hours after families were warned to stay inside their homes during a shooting spree, hundreds of people gathered in Mohawk to begin the healing process.

A teenager, trying to resolve any doubt about the human spirit, organized a candlelight vigil in Weller Park.

"Something in me just said that it had to be done, that these people needed comfort and care. That's really what the main message is, comfort and care and safety,” said vigil organizer Frieda Watkins.

Friends and strangers stood shoulder to shoulder, sharing embraces. Among them, a young girl carried a red candle -- the birthstone color of shooting victim Michael Renshaw, her uncle.

"I don't know what to think of it. I don't believe that it’s real. I am still in shock. It is just kind of horrific,” said Maddie Renshaw.

A Mohawk Fire Department truck pulled up as the crowd dispersed. Several members emerged in uniform to salute Harry Montgomery, a comrade in the fire corp. who was also killed on Wednesday.

"He gave of himself, 100 percent. It didn't matter if it was snow, rain, 100-degree temperatures; he was outside selling raffle tickets for the fire department,” said Barbara Bellstedt with the Mohawk Fire Corp.

Earlier, members of the Corp. voted for a new name, the Harry Montgomery Sr. Memorial Mohawk Fire Corp. They hope to establish a scholarship in his memory for a high school senior with exemplary community service.

"For a little township here that we have...A man who goes out and tries to help us...that is a part of us that is gone and we will never get back,” said Mohawk Fire Department Chief Dan Mabbett.

With each tear shed, there is hope that the future is not defined by this tragedy.

"It helps a lot I think...everyone coming together, just knowing that people are there for one another,” said Mohawk student Madeline Gassmann.

And there is determination to honor the wishes of those who did not survive.

"I know that he loves me and I love him. So, I think that he would tell me to just try to move past it because everything is going to be okay,” Maddie Renshaw continued.

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