BEND, Ore. — A large crowd gathered at a park in Bend on Monday night for a vigil to remember the victims of Sunday's deadly shooting at Safeway.
Three people died, including the alleged shooter. The two victims, 84-year-old Glenn Edward Bennett and 66-year-old Donald Ray Surrett Jr., both lived in Bend. Bennett was a customer and Surrett was an unarmed employee, police said, who physically attacked the shooter to try to disarm him.
Central Oregon Moms Demand Action, a grassroots group that pushes for gun safety measures, organized Monday night's vigil at Drake Park. Families with children and people of all ages came together to honor Surrett and Bennett. There was a moment of silence for the victims and a choir sang on stage. Several speakers shared messages of strength and unity while condemning the shooting.
"I ask us tonight to refuse to believe that this must be normal," said Morgan Schmidt, the founder of Pandemic Partner.
Bend City Councilor Melanie Kebler attended the vigil and shared her reaction to the shooting.
"I'm still feeling anger. I'm so angry that this continues," said Kebler.
She went on to say that gun violence is not inevitable and that it can be preventable.
Another woman who attended the vigil shared her reaction to the shooting.
"It just stops everything and you feel confused and sad, and I think like everyone, we don't want this to happen in our town," Bend resident Meg Brookover told NBC News.
Police called Surrett a hero and said his actions may have saved shoppers at the store. Surrett previously served in the U.S. Army for two decades. He wasn't deployed to active combat zones, the Associated Press (AP) reported, but he was stationed in Germany three times and lived on military bases across the U.S. between 1975-1995.
Debora Jean Surrett, his ex-wife, spoke with the AP in a phone interview.
"They’re trained to be the first ones to go into war and the last ones to come home," she told the AP.