Longmont residents host vigil, call for gun reform in wake of Monday mass shooting in Boulder

·3 min read

Mar. 28—A vigil on Saturday in Longmont had a message in response to the Boulder mass shooting Monday that left 10 people dead at a King Soopers.

"Enough already!" read the sign Kathy Partridge waved at passing traffic. Partridge, who is part of the community group Longmont Leads with Love, organized the vigil. She joined roughly a dozen people in remembering the lives of those lost Monday and demanding action for gun reform.

"We want to let Longmont, Main Street, know, we're saying enough," she said. "Enough guns. Enough gun violence. Enough hate crimes. Enough racism."

The vigil took place at popular downtown protest spot at Sixth Avenue and Main Street. The intersection has a history of drawing people with split views to the street corners.

On the east side Saturday, a group of about five protesters also held up signs, some reading "All Lives Matter." One person waved an American flag. While in the past, the east side street corner has drawn armed protesters wanting to show support for the Second Amendment, Partridge said she didn't see anyone as of 2 p.m. Saturday holding a weapon.

Boulder police on Monday received multiple 911 calls about 2:40 p.m. reporting an armed man who had shot a person in a vehicle and was now inside the store at 3600 Table Mesa Drive, according to an arrest affidavit for the suspect. The man arrested in connection with the crime is facing 10 counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.

The Longmont woman said most people she knows have a tie to the tragedy.

"Most of us are touched personally by what happened in Boulder," Partridge said. "We regret the polarization. We think the whole community should come together and understand that there's sensible safety measures that can connect our community."

Partridge said on Monday her daughter, Rosie, was working at a bakery just around the corner from the Table Mesa King Soopers. For about four hours, Partridge said her daughter had to shelter in place.

"It was terrifying for her and terrifying for me," Partridge said. "We didn't know what was going to happen."

Partridge said her daughter wasn't harmed in the situation.

Boulder police Chief Maris Herold said last week the suspect used a Ruger AR-556 pistol, which resembles an AR-15 rifle with a slightly shorter stock. The man had passed a background check and legally purchased the gun at the Eagles Nest Armory in Arvada on March 16, according to The Denver Post. He also was reported to have a 9mm handgun, which authorities say they believe was not used in the attack. Police haven't said how the 9mm was obtained.

Court records showed the man had a misdemeanor assault conviction, but no felonies, the Camera reported last week.

People who joined Partridge on Saturday also said they wanted to see change. They held signs that read, "Ban assault weapons" and, "Freedom from gun violence."

Beth Utton, of Longmont, carried a sign with a crying heart.

"I'm just heartbroken by the continuation of this kind of violence," Utton said.

Nearby Utton, JoAnn Augustaitus also rallied.

"Ten lives are gone," she said. "Ten families are now missing moms and dads. I don't mind people having guns, but I don't think they need assault weapons. Those guns were created to kill people. There's no place for them in a civil society."

Displayed in a planter near the vigil were drawings of broken hearts and the names of the 10 people who died:

— Denny Stong, 20

— Neven Stanisic, 23

— Rikki Olds, 25

— Tralona Bartkowiak, 49

— Teri Leiker, 51

— Eric Talley, 51

— Suzanne Fountain, 59

— Kevin Mahoney, 61

— Lynn Murray, 62

— Jody Waters, 65

"It touches everybody when it happens," Augustaitus said.

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