Hundreds of people attended vigils remembering the 17 victims who were killed in a school shooting in Parkland, Florida on Wednesday, with the sheriff responsible for overseeing the case telling attendees at an evening gathering that gun laws must be fixed.
Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel made pointed comments on gun control, saying, “If you are an elected official and you want to keep things the way they are and not do things differently, if you wanna keep the gun laws as they are now — you will not get re-elected in Broward County.”
The statements receiving a round of applause and standing ovation from the crowd.
Several speakers took to an elevated stage to pray for those who died, the injured who are recovering in the hospital and the first responders and school staff who worked so valiantly to keep them safe.
“We mourn for the potential that was lost — for the hopes, for the joys, for the dreams that will never be realized,” one speaker said of the young victims and the heroes who died while protecting the students.
Nearly every seat in the outdoor auditorium was filled, with an audience so large that it spilled onto the sidewalk on the other side of the fence separating the area.
Some members of the crowd nodded silently, while others cried with their hands buried in their faces, as numerous prayers were read.
Earlier in the day, 17 balloons were released during a vigil at the Parkland Baptist Church, one for each who was killed.
Multiple students were in attendance at a separate vigil at Parkridge Church in Pompano Beach, showing their support for their fallen classmates by wearing shirts emblazoned with an eagle, the school’s mascot.