Plymouth shooting: Community pays tribute to gun attack victims at candlelight vigil

Organiser of vigil says community has ‘deep scars’ after ‘horrific’ shooting

Holly Bancroft
Plymouth
Friday 13 August 2021 23:42
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Watch live as vigil is held for victims of Plymouth shooting

Hundreds of people gathered to pay their respects to the victims of the Plymouth shooting at a candle lit vigil on Friday evening.

Hundreds placed flowers and candles in North Down Crescent Park in Keyham on Friday evening to remember those who were killed by gunman Jake Davison.

Mourners bowed their heads and held out candles in a quiet moment on reflection for the victims. The gunman Jake Davison murdered his mother, Maxine Davison, before shooting at strangers. Lee Martyn, 43, and his three-year-old daughter Sophie were killed in the attack, as were Stephen Washington, 59 and Kate Shepherd, 66.

As it grew darker, mourners stood with candles in their hands, many given to them by a group of people at a table, while others shone the torches on their phones.

They paused briefly and stood silent, lifting their lights high in the air in a moment of unity following the atrocity.

Janet Goldsmith, 65, who was in attendance at the vigil, said she lived close by and “wanted to support the families who have lost their loved ones.”

“It is a very very sad time,” she added.

Margaret Head, 56, spoke about how the community have been shaken by the shooting. “Everyone’s been talking about it,” she said. “Everyone’s thinking of that poor little girl. It’s just horrific. We all have children and feel for the families. The only good thing out of it is people are all checking in on each other now.”

Her husband Nicholas, also 56, recounted how he heard the news of the mass shooting. He said: “When it happened my daughter rang me and said something had happened and so it was all a bit frantic and worrying for a while. Once we got home we just locked the door, listened to the helicopters and waited for the news. We’ve had messages from friends around the world, checking in on us.”

The vigil was organised by the local neighbourhood watch and chairman Kevin Sproston led people in a minute’s silence.

“This vigil was at the request of the community, they wanted something to mark their respects,” Mr Sproston said. “The boards we’ve put up are wardrobes boards, this is my washing line as a cordon. This is as community as it gets. These tables have come from the local pub. There is nothing more community than this right now.”

“People are feeling somber but I think they find strength together and in this turn out and how everyone is looking after each other and checking up on each other.

“My house is just a few yards away from where it’s been cordoned off. This is not a quick fix for our community- I’ve spoken to young kids that have witnessed horrific things. Those deep scars that are going to take support. But that’s what we’re prepared to do.”

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