Hundreds of mourners gather at Aurora prayer vigil

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AURORA | More than 300 people attended a prayer vigil Friday evening at the Kaiser Permanente offices across the street from the Aurora theater where dozens of people were shot earlier in the morning.

The vigil was attended by high school students, clergy, community leaders, and several people who were at the theater during the massacre.

Todd Peckham, 41, said he was at the screening of another movie when the theater was evacuated, and he helped carry wounded people to safety.

“I just felt like I needed to be a part of the whole, because last night we were all individual and scattered because of the chaos,” he said. “I felt like tonight would help me come to terms with what I witnessed.”

State Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora and her daughter, Maisha Pollard, were also at the vigil.

“I don’t know what else to do but pray,” said Fields, whose son was shot and killed in 2005 in Denver before he was set to testify in the murder of his friend.

People held hands, hugged, and wiped away tears while religious leaders said prayers during the hour-long event.

Tom Mauser, whose son was killed in the Columbine shootings in 1999, encouraged the crowd to pray for everyone involved in the shootings.

“Even if you don’t know of somebody who lost their life or who was impacted, just simply being in that theater is trauma. Reach out to those people, and tell them you’re praying for them,” he said.

The vigil was organized by the Fields-Wolfe Memorial Fund. Scarlett Jimenez, a Hinkley High School senior who is on the leadership board of the fund, said it was important to come together.

“It was an awful experience but with an event like this, it’s beautiful to see the community coming together,” she said.

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[…] imagine it’s being played this morning in houses scattered across Aurora, CO on record players, boom boxes and iPods as people get ready to go to church.  Or stay at home.  […]