Community fights to stay 'RaleighStrong' in wake of recent tragedies

Elaina Athans Image
Wednesday, November 23, 2022
Community fights to stay 'RaleighStrong' in wake of recent tragedies
Raleigh is grieving but remaining strong as the community copes with two recent tragedies.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A memorial along Hillsborough Street for 11-year-old Hailey Brooks has tripled in size from a couple of days ago.

People are leaving flowers, candles and messages of hope. The community is going through a great deal of trauma but still holding on to the mantra of Raleigh Strong.

"It's hard, it's hard to see this," said Raleigh resident Pat Daniel, who says it's been hard coping with two significant recent tragedies. "I can imagine how the family feels knowing that this happened just before Thanksgiving and Christmas."

Unfortunately, Brooks' memorial isn't the only one right now in Raleigh. About six miles away, there's another in the Hedingham neighborhood.

Five people and a family pet were killed last month in a mass shooting.

Hope Lutheran Church in Wake Forest is one organization that has stepped in to help people.

"We were happy to be a part of that day, even though it was a very sad, very difficult day for all of us, too," said Hope Lutheran Church Pastor Wayne Puls.

Volunteers from the food ministry team responded a day after the tragedy to nourish mourners with meals, comfort, hope and prayer.

"We need as a community to support each other, to care for each other, to help each other through these times," said Puls. "To take care of each other, to support and help each other. Sometimes it's holding each other accountable, sometimes it's just holding people up, and helping us get through the times we find ourselves in."

Raleigh Police Chief Estella Patterson issued a statement to ABC11:

"The tragedies that occurred in the Hedingham community on October 13 and the Raleigh Christmas parade on November 19 will leave the community grieving in the coming weeks and months. The Raleigh Police Department mourns alongside our community. Despite the grief and sadness, our community remains strong as we have seen people lift each other by offering support, compassion, and prayer. In law enforcement, sometimes the worst events bring about the best in people. In the aftermath of the Hedingham mass shooting, we received support and condolences from across the country. Even during the Christmas parade, we saw ordinary people putting themselves in the face of harm to prevent further loss of life. It is for these reasons that we are #RaleighStrong."