Fly all flags at half staff for week to honor victims, Huntsman says
On Utah's Capitol Hill, Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. called for flags to be flown at half staff for one week, to honor the shooting victims.
Huntsman and his wife, Mary Kaye, issued a statement Tuesday expressing their "most sincere condolences to the grieving families affected by the devastatingly tragic events at Trolley Square Monday night. They also wish peace and consolation to all of the others who were involved," the statement said.
"Today is a day of grieving, and tomorrow we, as a community, will begin the healing process," Gov. Huntsman said. "This experience will make us stronger, binding us together. It is a time to be kinder to our neighbors, hug our children a little tighter and hold strong to the Utah tradition of reaching out to one another."
Huntsman has called on Utahns to lower state and U.S. flags immediately, until sunset Monday to honor the Trolley Square victims.
Also on Capitol Hill, the Utah Senate opened Tuesday's floor session by remembering the shooting victims.
"This is a very solemn occasion today," Senate President John Valentine, R-Orem, said, reminding lawmakers they still "have a responsibility to continue with the people's business."
Valentine said the event was "tragic," and "when the true story comes out, there will probably be many heroes."
Sen. Scott McCoy, D-Salt Lake, who lives just a block and a half from the mall, said, "It is a sad day for my district and my neighborhood."
McCoy said that despite the shootings and last summer's slaying of young Destiny Norton, "this area of the city and the neighborhood is a good place and there are good people who live there. We will persevere."
As Ogden's police chief, Sen. Jon Greiner, R-Ogden, sat quietly nearby, McCoy offered special thanks to off-duty Ogden police officer Ken Hammond for making "a horrible situation not be more horrible, by helping to pin the shooter down." .
In Tuesday's opening prayer, Pastor Stan Arias of the Vernal Christian Church, said, "Our hearts are broken. We have seen the sad and the dark side of humanity."
The governor is encouraging anyone who was present during the shooting to contact the Office of Crime Victim Reparations, a state agency that provides assistance to victims of violent crime. CVR is able to assist with several types of expenses, including funeral expenses, medical expenses and mental health counseling expenses not covered by insurance or other collateral sources. For more information contact CVR at 801-238-2360 or visit at 350 E. 500 South, Suite 200, in Salt Lake City or go online to www.crimevictim.utah.gov.Valley Mental Health is also encouraging those traumatized by Monday's events to contact it for help by phoning the agency's adult crisis line at 801-261-1442. Someone there can also direct callers to assistance for children.
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