More than 300 people gathered at an East Northport vigil Sunday night to mourn and remember Ann Pabo, 47, and her son Connelle Pabo, 12, recalling a classmate, a longtime friend, and for some, a stranger they wanted to honor.
"I didn't know the family, but my kids were deeply troubled by this tragedy," said Kim Barclay of East Northport, one of the organizers of the vigil, as she handed out candles to the assembled crowd. "I thought it was important to honor them somehow." Her daughter AnnaLee, 16, publicized the vigil via Facebook, she said.
Assembling at the clock tower at the Northport train station, community members brought candles and friends spoke to share memories of the victims.
Lucas Waldmann, 11, a friend and classmate of Connelle, described him as "the greatest friend anyone could ask for.
"This is horrible," he said.
Grief in the community has been widespread, as evidenced by flowers and stuffed animals placed outside the Pabo home and fliers posted on store windows asking residents to attend Sunday's vigil. Others in the community have been collecting donations for the Pabo family, said Kevin Varrone, a friend of the family who planned to attend the vigil. Varrone said a group of friends, and friends-of-friends of the family gathered at a home in East Northport this weekend to collect money to help surviving family members.
"We had a fundraiser for them [Saturday night]," he said. "We raised some money, passed the hat around."
Varrone declined to say how much money was raised at the event, but added that it was not the only fundraiser that has been held for the Pabo family.
Rich Rowehl, 42, Connelle's Cub Scout leader, spoke at Sunday night's vigil, remembering the boy as smart and hard working. "He and his mother were great people," he said.