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Vigil held near site of Fredericton shooting

Residents light candles at a vigil on Aug. 10, 2018 at Saint John the Evangelist Church. A shooting that morning claimed the lives of four individuals, including two police officers.
Residents light candles at a vigil on Aug. 10, 2018 at Saint John the Evangelist Church. A shooting that morning claimed the lives of four individuals, including two police officers. - Stu Neatby

FREDERICTON, N.B. - On Friday night, more than 200 people gathered at a vigil near the site of the morning’s shooting.

Religious leaders quickly pulled together the event, held at Saint John the Evangelist Anglican Church, as a way to allow the community to grieve.

On Friday morning, a shooting on Brookside Drive, less than a 10-minute walk from the church, claimed the lives of four individuals, including two police officers.

Geoffrey Hall, a pastor at the Christ-Church Cathedral in downtown Fredericton, said the news was difficult for many in the community process.

think probably all of us who are clergy are very conscious of what Sunday morning is going to look like because our worship is going to have to somehow reflect what has happened in the last few days," Hall said.

Hall said many in the community are asking what could have motivated the shootings.

"I think it will help a lot once we know more details about what really happened."

On Saturday morning, police released the name of an individual, Matthew Vincent Raymond, arrested in connection with the shootings.

RELATED: Fredericton man charged with first-degree murder in connection with shooting

Raymond has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of two police officers, 45-year-old Lawrence Robert Costello and 43-year-old Sara Mae Burns, and two Fredericton residents, 42-year-old Donald Adam Robichaud and 32-year-old Bobbie Lee Wright.

A sign outside of Saint John the Evangelist Baptist Church. A shooting on Aug. 10, 2018 claimed the lives of four individuals, including two police officers.
A sign outside of Saint John the Evangelist Baptist Church. A shooting on Aug. 10, 2018 claimed the lives of four individuals, including two police officers.

At the end of the vigil, Paul Ranson, the pastor at Saint John the Evangelist, urged members of the community to not let Friday’s events provide the justification for community divisions.

"The problem with good and evil is not us versus them. It's something that runs down the middle of each and every one of us,” Ranson said.

“I want to encourage each and every one of us that, as we leave this place, that we would carry the life with us, that we would carry the hope with us. And that together we could be part of the solution and not contributors to the problem."

EDITORIAL: Gun violence inches closer

On Friday morning, Ranson received news of the shooting while he was at a gym on Brookside Drive.

He had just dropped his daughter off at a school nearby.

“I found everyone was down by the doors on their cells. When I tried to get out the doors, the doors were locked because they'd locked everybody down," Ranson said.

RELATED: Fredericton residents shocked shooting happened in their hometown

In his conversations with members of his congregation, Hall said many have been surprised that an event as horrific as Friday morning’s shooting could occur in a small city like Fredericton.

"We're all grieving the loss of those who died but there's also the significant issue of security and how safe we all feel," Hall said.

"We're hearing so much about Toronto shootings and it's always been a ways away, but it can happen anywhere."

Stu.neatby@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/stu_neatby

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