Several notes referred to the dead by their first names, a reminder of how small Kirkwood is. "Thank you Tom, for being our friend. We will never forget you," read a tiny note tucked inside purple tulips.
Across the street, thousands of people from Kirkwood and neighboring cities crowded into Kirkwood Station Plaza for a candlelight vigil. Pastors and religious leaders took turns leading the crowd in song and prayer, and they asked for unification among whites and blacks. Pastor Craig Worsham of the Olive Chapel AME Church in Kirkwood implored, "Comfort us. Heal us. Watch over the city of Kirkwood. Watch over those families who are suffering and in pain. . . . Bring about restoration in our community when there has been division."
Near the stage, Kirkwood resident Beckie Barris tearfully hugged her friend Monroe Smith. "I feel angry, frustrated and afraid," Barris said. "I wanted to come out here to touch base with the community. I didn't want to sit in front of a TV at home and watch it as if it wasn't happening here, as if it was happening somewhere else."
Smith nodded and said, "I knew everybody in that council room except the officer who died inside. . . . I can't believe this is happening in our town." Smith said he has lived in Kirkwood for 20 years and knew both the mayor and Thornton well enough to see similarities between the two. "They were both very outgoing. They were always champions for Kirkwood. The sad thing is Cookie got obsessed."
Saturday, February 09, 2008
L. A. Times: Kirkwood shaken by murder spree
The national media has come to Missouri with the shootings Thursday night at the Kirkwood City Council meeting that left five dead and the city's mayor wounded. Today's Los Angeles Times features a description of the city in the wake of the tragedy: