Jacksonville Beach residents hold vigil for Newtown shooting victims

Published On: Dec 23 2012 10:58:01 PM EST
Updated On: Dec 24 2012 10:36:29 AM EST

VIDEO: More than a week after a deadly school shooting sent shockwaves through a small Connecticut town and the nation, a candlelight vigil is held locally for the 26 victims taken from their families.

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -

The community of Ocean Cay in Jacksonville Beach holds a Christmas party every year for their neighborhood.

This year's event was different.

Touched by the killing of 20 first graders and 6 of their teachers at a Connecticut elementary school on Dec. 13, neighbors felt obligated to remember those families who lives were affected by the tragedy just days before the holidays.

"We have a relatively young community here with children in the age group, the ages of the children who were killed," said Michael Loiacono, who organized a candlelight vigil.

The neighborhood plans on sending pictures and videos of the vigil to those in Newtown.

"I was one of those lucky people that was able to pray for them, be there with them and help the family get through it with the vigil tonight," said 13-year-old Sonny Loiacono.

Connecticut State Police said Adam Lanza, 20, shot his mother inside their Newtown home before forcing his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School and killing 26 others with a .223 Bushmaster rifle.

Organizers in Jacksonville Beach said their service had no political goals and was open to people of all religions.

Linday Dayson, the head of Hurting Families With Children in Crime said the people of Newtown are not alone.

"We just wanted to come out her to show our support, to let them know we support them," Dayson said.

Hurting Families With Children in Crime is a local non-profit organization that comforts families of crime victims. The group will head to Newtown Dec. 28 to help comfort the victims' families.

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