STORRS – Members of the Storrs-Mansfield community came to Fairfield Way Thursday night to share thoughts and lament Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada that killed 59 people and wounded 489.

Mansfield Mayor Paul Shapiro, UConn Chief of Police Hans D. Rhynhart, Reverend Ryan Lerner, and numerous other public officials attended the event.

Shapiro says that while he believes it’s important to take action in response to the events, he also believes it’s important to mourn.

“We as a community – the Mansfield community and the UConn community, together as a family – we need to be together to express our grief.” he says. “There’s a need for us to share our grief and to express solidarity with those who’ve lost their loved ones.”

Shapiro later shares the poem “Each of Us Has a Name” by Israeli poet Zelda. He says the poem seems “particularly appropriate” for mourning the deaths in the “senseless mass murder” in Las Vegas.

Opening lines:

“Each of us has a name
given by God
and given by our parents…”

Rhynhart tells vigil attendees they should remember how bravely people responded despite the danger they faced during the shooting.

“Let’s remember and honor the first responders who provided critical care to the injured and worked to stop the shooting,” he says. “[Let’s remember] the ordinary people – people like you and me attending the concert – who became extraordinary people, who were thrust into a nightmare and responded heroically and saved countless lives.”

He also says that “kind words, helping hands and open minds” are “powerful actions” that show we care.

UConn Chief of Police Hans D. Rhynhart holds hands with other attendees Thursday night to commemorate the 59 victims from Sunday’s shooting in Las Vegas.
Photo: Nicholas Hampton/The Daily Campus

UConn Against Gun Violence and the Student Coalition for Social Justice sponsored the gathering.

Elizabeth Charash, president of UConn Against Gun Violence and Daily Campus copy editor, speaks about the after-effects of mass shootings and says victims’ stories often become lost in statistics.

“We cannot ignore the lives of the victims. We cannot ignore their humanity for fear they could’ve been us or our friends or our family,” she says. “We must empower their memory so that the statistic is used in addition to their narrative.”

Storrs Congregational Church Pastor Nancy McLaren says she asks the crowd to “take some space” together and ask themselves where their pains are.

“When you’re gathered here as one body together, you create a community of strength in and of itself.”

McLaren then rings a bell 59 times to represent each person who died in the Las Vegas shooting – the largest mass shooting in U.S. history.

UConn’s a cappella group Notes Over Storrs ends the night singing “This Little Light of Mine.”

Lyric snippet:

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine
Let it shine, shine, shine
Let it shine!”


* Editor’s Note: Sound clip of Las Vegas shooting in the audio story is courtesy of this YouTube video. *

Daniela Doncel & LJ Karam contributed reporting.