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Until gunshots erupted at a Sikh temple last Sunday, the community of Oak Creek, Wisconsin considered itself an oasis, a place where city meets country. Last night, hundreds of residents there tended an annual Night Out gathering, remembering the six people who were killed and honoring the injured.
Susan Bence of member station WUWM reports.
SUSAN BENCE, BYLINE: If you parachuted into the hubbub of parents pushing strollers and kids making a beeline for the free firefighter helmets, you could almost forget that just a few miles north the unimaginable happened.
But Linda Arnold won't forget. The Red Cross nurse was there Sunday to help with the chaos. Last night, like so many others, she stool vigil here.
LINDA ARNOLD: It was a very, very difficult day, but especially for the people who waited all day and all evening, to find out if their loved ones were indeed the people who didn't make it.
BENCE: Now her team returns with mental health workers, just in case someone needs to talk.
While Jenny Gordon doesn't live in Oak Creek, she too was drawn to the vigil last night.
JENNY GORDON: I couldn't help but feel if - if my children or one of my family members was drastically taken away in a brutal, awful way, I would want people to comfort me. I would want people to care enough to come and grieve with me and pray with me. So I felt compelled to be here.
BENCE: Nis Reen is a young Muslim mother, fasting for Ramadan and strolling her daughter out of the park. Her head covered, Nis Reen says many people here have asked her if she is Sikh. She replies no, but her neighbors are.
NIS REEN: I never really talked to them that much, even though we're neighbors. But now it made me feel that - I feel closer to them now.
BENCE: The clear evening sky, lit by hundreds of candles, bore testament not only to those lost in the senseless killing, but also to those who survived.
For NPR News, I'm Susan Bence in Milwaukee. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.