MUKILTEO, Wash. -- In an effort to help families through pain after the fatal shooting of three teenagers nearly two weeks ago, community leaders held a public forum to discuss grief for the first time since the tragedy.
In a room of grieving families, Mukilteo Mayor Jennifer Gregerson opened up a community forum with a message of hope, followed by a panel of specialists to talk about grief.
“I’ve been honored to talk with family members and friends of these amazing people,” said Gregerson. “All of them want to make sure that they’re remembered for more than just one horrible moment.”
Among those listening was Paul Kramer, whose son, Will Kramer, was one of four teens shot at a Mukilteo house gathering last month. Will was the only one to be hit that survived. Jake long, Anna Bui, and Jordan Ebner did not.
“We as a whole have been hit really hard by this tragedy and it’s going to be a long road to healing,” said Kramer.
Kramer added that he and other parents needed a forum like this, where a panel offered advice about how to deal with grief and loss, some with experience with another tragic shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School.
“I wanted to share some of the things I’ve seen in Marysville among the young people there in hopes that it might help you,” said Michelle Pauley with Victim Support Services, at the forum Thursday.
Organizers say ultimately grief will come in waves, and they want the community to be prepared as each wave hits.
“So this is about bringing community members together to get support and to talk about how to talk to your kids when there is something so awful that has happened to our community, how we can build resiliency, how we can access resources,” said Liza Patchen-Short with Snohomish County Children’s Mental Health Liaison and the forum organizer.
Kamiak High School’s principal also spoke at the forum to say it has been nice to see the high school, home to a growing memorial, used as a safe place for the community to grieve. He said once school starts, that support for kids will continue with extra grief counselors on hand and events planned to bring students together.