MUKILTEO — A community came together Sunday night to share its grief and demonstrate its resolve.
The vigil — a day after three recent Kamiak High School graduates were shot and killed at a house party — focused less on the act of violence and more on healing that is needed in this waterfront city of 21,000.
Jordan M.R. Ebner, Jacob M. Long and Anna Bui all were 19. Each died from gunshot wounds. The Snohomish County Medical Examiner on Sunday classified their deaths as homicides, the first in Mukilteo since 2002.
Will Kramer also was wounded. He was in serious condition Sunday being treated at a Seattle hospital’s intensive care unit. Vigil organizers had placed a large card at the event and encouraged people to sign it with messages of support.
The gathering was held outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Harbour Pointe Boulevard.
A crowd of perhaps 400 people spilled into the parking lot surrounding the church’s front doors and onto the sidewalk under early evening sunlight.
Susan Sager, who has lived in Mukilteo for 43 years, said she came to the event to show support for the community and to represent her son, Kevin White, who attended Kamiak High School.
Janet Hammerman, who participates in the Mukilteo Youth Coalition, said she, too, attended the event to show community support.
Mukilteo Mayor Jennifer Gregerson and Gov. Jay Inslee were among the speakers at the vigil.
“I’m so sorry you’re experiencing this tragedy,” Gregerson said. She reminded the crowd that she had graduated from Kamiak in 1996.
She invited people to share their sorrow with her as they see her out in the community “as I have with you.”
Help is available at the city’s Rosehill Community Center, she said. “It’s important to talk and share your emotions.”
Inslee said that as he traveled around the state Sunday to places such as Yakima and Ellensburg, people wanted him to let the community of Mukilteo know “you are not alone.”
A 2015 Kamiak grad, Allen Christopher Ivanov, 19, was booked Saturday afternoon for investigation of one count of aggravated murder and two counts of first-degree murder. He’s expected to make a court appearance on Monday afternoon.
Mukilteo is a place best known for its historic lighthouse and ferries gently pushing away from the waterfront dock taking passengers to Whidbey Island. The outburst of violence now has brought international attention. The community has joined the long, sad, list of places where there have been a mass killings. What happened Saturday was the worst outbreak of violence in Snohomish County since October 2014 when a Marysville Pilchuck High School student shot five friends, killing four, before he turned the gun on himself.
Both Bui and Ivanov were students at the University of Washington. A vigil is planned at the Bothell campus Monday in her memory.
“Students, staff and faculty are invited to honor Anna and to provide and receive comfort in this time of mourning,” Chancellor Wolff Yeigh said in a blog post.
On Saturday night, mourners gathered spontaneously to support each other in the high school parking lot.
James Kim, also a 2015 Kamiak graduate, struggled with loss, hurt and anger.
“Today we will grieve for the beloved ones who have been lost,” he said that night. “We remember their smiles and laughs. Tomorrow we’ll strive to make the world a better place in whatever way we can.” That, he said, is the best way to honor them.
John Conley, father of 15-year old Molly Conley, who was gunned down by a stranger in 2013 while walking with her friends along a road in Lake Stevens, brought three small white crosses Saturday to leave at the memorial in the high school parking lot.
“Unfortunately I know a lot of what people are feeling,” he said.
Mike Gallagher, Kamiak’s principal, sent a note to his staff late Saturday afternoon.
“We extend our support and sympathy to all the families impacted by this terrible tragedy,” it said.
“In the meantime, please take time to take care of each other in the days to come.”
Ally Tornblad, a technician in the Kamiak drama department, said the killings are “a tragedy we didn’t think would happen here.”
“Our biggest concern is those left behind, the kids who are going to live with this,” she said. “We need to see that they get support.”
At Mukilteo’s vigil Sunday, speakers kept their comments short. Emotions were raw. Nobody took up the mayor’s offer when she asked if anyone had something they wanted to say.
After the vigil concluded, however, people lingered outside the church for more than an hour, talking in small groups.
Pastor Paul Sundberg of the Pointe of Grace Lutheran Church in Mukilteo said earlier Sunday that he’s been hearing from people mostly about “dismay, that shock that it can happen within their own community.”
“The promise of our faith is God walks with us through these things,” he said. “The challenges and pains of life are not avoidable, and there is a way through.”
Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support is available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily at the Rosehill Community Center, 304 Lincoln Ave. in Mukilteo. Call 425- 263-8180 for information.