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Stunned Community Tries To Find A Way Forward Together

Deborah Wang

The site of last Friday's school shooting will remain closed this week. Marysville-Pilchuck High School has suspended classes, out of respect for the victims of the tragedy.  On Sunday, they allowed students and family members back into the school for the first time to meet with grief counselors. The chain link fence at the front gate of Marysville Pilchuk High school has become an unofficial gathering spot for those in grief.

They bring bouquets of flowers, and hang them on the fence, they tie on balloons, and they put up posters with the names and photographs not just of the victims, but also of the alleged shooter.
Kilgore: "What I see are tons and tons of flowers, and cheesy as it sounds, it reminds me of a rainbow that have appeared over the school these past few days."
That’s senior Emma Kilgore. She’s describing the unusual number of rainbows that have appeared over the school since the shooting. She was in the bandroom when the shooting happened.  She and bandmate Marshall Smelser say they are spending a lot of time now talking with friends, and just trying to figure it all out.
Smelser: "How are we going to find reality, back to going to school and having it be normal, are we going to get back to that, will it be weird. It’s going to be hard."
The high school had been closed since the shooting on Friday, but on Sunday afternoon, they opened the gates, briefly to students and their families.

Hundreds of people gathered on the bleachers of the school’s big gymnasium, under a banner that read Tomahawks. Students greeted each other with hugs, some openly weeping.
So I appreciate you coming today…moving forward.
School Superintendent Becky Berg brought in a team of grief counsellors to start the process of helping students and families heal.
But first they heard from leaders of the Tulalip tribe, who say their members are in deep shook and pain. The alleged shooter was a popular son from a prominent Tulalip family. Two of the people he shot were his cousins.
Here’s Tribal leader Tony Hatch.
Hatch: "Our community has taken a kick in the belly here, a real hard one to swallow, feels like we got knocked out and our feet are wobbly. Our kids love each other, we are really damaged right now. We’ve got familes all over Tulalip who are grieving really hard right now. Keep them in prayer please."

Credit Deborah Wang / KUOW
The Tulalip leaders performed a traditional honor song for those who are struggling right now.

The Tulalip leaders performed a traditional honor song for those who are struggling right now.
People here keep repeating that they have no answers, and don’t really know how they are going to move forward, but they say the most important thing is that they go down that path together, as a community.

Copyright 2014 KUOW.