Gatherings at churches, memorial sites filled with sadness Sunday in Virginia Beach

People continue to grieve after Friday's mass shooting

By Tommy Lopez - Weekend Anchor / Reporter

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - People continued to grieve in Virginia Beach on Sunday after the mass shooting that took the lives of 12 victims two days earlier.

Many visited a growing memorial outside the police station.

"Speechless. Speechless. Just speechless. Just didn't know this could happen here,” resident Natalie Thompson-Sumner said.

People visited and brought flowers, standing and remembering in silence.

“It’s so sad, and my heart aches for the families that were touched, that are hurting today,” resident Anne Gimenez said.

Some attended church services that were made more emotional by the recent tragedy.

"For those that lost fathers and mothers and sisters and brothers, just to come together as a church and pray., that was important,” resident Edna Wallace said.

Family and co-workers of the victims -- and others who were at the scene Friday -- sought sanctuaries to help heal.

"The city is in mourning right now, but we know God is working,” resident Elizabeth Reed said.

Thompson-Sumner experienced the mass shooting firsthand. She came to worship at Rock Church on Sunday after she just happened in to be in the Municipal Complex on Friday afternoon when the shooting started.

“I never experienced anything like it before,” she said.

She stayed in a room with 11 others for three hours until they knew they were safe.

"My heart bleeds for others but I'm happy to be alive and well, of course,” she said.

There are many more remembrance events planned, including the city’s official vigil at Rock Church.

“All of us are still, frankly, in shock,” pastor John Blanchard said. “I believe it’s going to be so important for citizens to come out, family members to come out, just to show unity, solidarity, that we are one as a community and as a city.”

The vigil is planned for Thursday at 7 p.m.

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