Memorial held for Carthage shooting victims

April 20, 2009 4:15:25 AM PDT
A community is honoring the lives lost in a nursing home rampage.Just three weeks ago, a lone gunman terrorized the town of Carthage.

The victim's family members, friends and other members of the community came together Sunday to honor those who died on March 29. Hundreds of people gathered for the public service, including Gov. Bev Perdue.

At the service, residents say there were plenty of prayers for strength and thanks for the lives that were spared.

Police say Robert Stewart walked into the Pinelake Health and Rehabilitation Center and shot and killed seven elderly residents and one employee.

The responding officer, Justin Garner, has been hailed as a hero for stopping Stewart. He was honored with a plaque at Sunday's service.

During the service, a bell was ringed as each victim's name was read out loud.

Those who attended the service say it is just what the community needed. Some of the current nursing home residents even watched the memorial service from the facility's porch.

"I really enjoyed it," resident Chris Boswell said. "I think it was appropriate for what everybody around here probably needed, to help get over it, to cope."

"I think they did a wonderful job," resident Betty Garner said. "It was nice to see some of the residents here at Pinelake to attend and some of the family members."

A flag in front of the nursing home still remains at half staff and sadness still lingers, but residents say there is still hope everyone who was there that fateful day can heal.

"With God, they're able to move on with this faith and hope and I think they're doing a great job," Garner said.


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