Illinois Student Senate to hold candlelight vigil in response to campus shooting

By Aaron Navarro, Assistant Daytime News Editor

Students light their candles to show their support for the victims of the tragic Sunday shooting during the vigil on Tuesday.

Yangwentao (Ryan) Fang
Students light their candles to show their support for the victims of the tragic Sunday shooting during the vigil on Tuesday.

UPDATE (9/27 1:25 p.m.): Erik Lasaine, a UI graduate student and one of the two UI survivors of Sunday morning’s shooting, said he will be speaking at the vigil tonight.

A candlelight vigil for the victims of the Sunday morning shooting on Green Street will be held on the Main Quad Tuesday night. The event will begin at 7 p.m. and will have a moment of silence followed by words from campus leaders and a discussion of resources available to students.

Around 12:30 a.m. Sunday, shots were fired between Third and Fourth Streets on Green Street. One victim was pronounced dead at Carle Foundation Hospital at 1:02 a.m. At 1:08 a.m., additional gunshots were reported in the 700 block of South State Street. Five others were injured overnight from the shootings; one was a victim of a hit-and-run from a car while fleeing the gunfire. That driver has come forward to the police.

The Illinois Student Senate (ISS) is hosting the vigil. Ron Lewis is the ISS president and said that they made the call to plan and host this vigil early Sunday morning.

“After everything had happened, the executive board was in constant communication,” Lewis said. “Basically we just kinda came to the conclusion that we want to make sure to honor the people. Make sure the people who were hurt and injured are recognized.” 

Both Lewis and ISS Vice President Alex Villanueva said that the main goal of the vigil is to get the campus to come together.

“The big goal is to remind the campus community that we’re all as one,” Villanueva said. “It’s a moment to begin the healing process and set the stage for problems moving forward.”

Lewis said he is unsure if any of the healed victims will be in attendance for the vigil. Though they have been in contact with people who have been in contact with the victims, he said ISS didn’t want to rush them.

“My main thing is we wanted to respect their time,” Lewis said. “They might attend, they might not. We don’t want to rush anything and put them in a position they don’t want to be in.”

Lewis is confident that they can bring the campus together, even through the distrust the shootings caused.

“It’s a different feeling to being on campus and have those emotions of, ‘What am I gonna do? What’s going on right now? What about my friends?’ I think through that moment, through that tragedy on Sunday morning, we will be able to use [the vigil] to realize how short and precious life is,” Lewis said. “With things like this, it’s real easy to feel isolated and lose trust, but we want to use this to come together when people need it most.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story was titled “Illinois State Senate to hold candlelight vigil in response to campus shooting.”  The correct title is updated. The Daily Illini regrets this error. 
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