Residents of Lewiston, Maine, returned to work and school on Monday, a day after coming together to mourn the victims of the state's worst mass shooting. Over 1,000 people gathered at the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul for a vigil, where the names of the 18 people fatally shot were read aloud. The solemn event was live-streamed for hundreds more, who watched on a huge screen outside the church, with American flags and candles in hand.
Religious leaders, including Christian, Jewish, and Islamic representatives, spoke of hope, healing, and the power of prayer. The tragic event had a profound impact on Lewiston's deaf and hard of hearing community, causing several attendees at the vigil to communicate through American Sign Language.
The shock of the shooting is slowly being replaced by a shared sense of resilience and determination within Lewiston's 40,000-strong community. Reverend Allen Austin encouraged the crowd to focus on fostering peace and compassion while Reverend Todd Little highlighted the community's newfound unity amid their collective pain.
The vigil took place two days after the suspected gunman, Robert Card, was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. The investigation into the motive for the massacre continues, with authorities examining Card's mental health history.
In the days following the shooting, the lockdown was lifted, and some semblance of normalcy returned to Lewiston. However, the scars of this tragic event will not be forgotten, as the community seeks solace and healing. Reverend Kevin Bohlin emphasized the importance of coming together and making a difference in the world in honor of the victims.
As the mourning period continues, residents find comfort in their faith and the support of their neighbors and religious leaders. The community's determination to rise above this tragedy is strong, with a focus on becoming "Lewiston Stronger" rather than being defined by fear and loss.