Columbia students hold vigil to memorialize Texas shooting victims

A lone 18-year-old gunman on May 24 killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

It was the third-deadliest school shooting in US history behind Virginia Tech University in 2007 and Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.

Columbia middle and high school students with Missouri Youth Voices had two options: They could hold a protest or a candlelight vigil.

They decided on the vigil, which was held Wednesday evening at Stephens Lake Park.

“It’s important to hold a vigil to not only honor the lives of those killed, but it is a great way to cross political barriers,” said Katherine Cox-Littrell with Missouri Youth Voices.

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Protests and demonstrations are based in anger, and people can be angry about different issues on both sides of the gun control debate, she said.

“A lot of people are sad about the same things, and we felt (a vigil) was a better way to honor the lives of everyone lost,” Cox-Littrell said.

Katherine Cox-Littrell lights candles Wednesday at Stephens Lake Park next to photos of the victims of the Robb Elementary School shooting from Uvalde, Texas.

Molly Hume, also with Missouri Youth Voices, has observed protesters online. While they were respectful, a vigil was deemed to be better, she said.

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Unlike other vigils, the evening was an opportunity for community members to share in their grief, rather than using a platform to share personal thoughts, Cox-Littrell said.

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