John Cadiz Klemack and Sean Browning
From Tustin to Santa Ana, vigils to remember the victims of a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., connected the east coast to the west. James Light says he was compelled to memorialize the victims because as a father, “if I lost my own kids, it’d tear me up.” John Cadiz Klemack reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Dec. 17, 2012
Multiple gatherings in remembrance of the victims of Fridays' horrific mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., took place Monday in Orange County.
In the afternoon, the Santa Ana City Council and school district were had planned to gather with the public on the steps of the Old Orange County Courthouse.
The event was slated to include a prayer, a moment of silence, and a discussion on the measures to protect schoolchildren.
In Anaheim, city leaders and residents gathered from 5 to 5:30 p.m. on the steps of City Hall, lighting candles.
"This is a terrible loss and the entire country mourns alongside the city of Newtown," Anaheim Mayor Tait said in a statement. "I invite the Anaheim community to join me and my colleagues on Monday for a moment of prayer, silence and remembrance.
"Though Anaheim and Newtown are across the country, we want our friends on the east coast to know we support them," Tait added. "Their loss is incomprehensible."
One resident present at the event said the Newtown slayings of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary school hit "too close to home."
"I have grandchildren. I have a 6-year-old first-grader," Cheryl Tewell said. "My heart goes out, it's broken for what happened."
"I fear that it could happen at her school," said James Light, who held his young daughter in his arms. "I don't know what I'd do if it did happen."
"I know how the families are feeling, and I'm just paying my respects to all of them," Carrie Guevarra said.
"Everybody's feeling the backlash to this and we thought we'd come by and show our support," said John Balsis.
On Wednesday, Irvine Mayor Steven Choi and representatives of the Irvine and Tustin school districts planned a town hall on school safety at the Irvine High School Theater, where Irvine Police Chief Dave Maggard were to discuss safety preparations.