Thousands of people in Eastern Washington are trying to move forward one day after a shooting outside Spokane, at Freeman High School left one student dead and three others injured.
Just hours after the shooting, students, staff, and families started to return to the school leaving flowers, balloons, and messages, sending well wishes to those recovering and remembering the young person who died.
A few of the people who stopped by the school on Thursday were 5th grader Lane Mathews and his grandmother Brenda Hoyer. They spoke of the strength of the Freeman people.
“Everybody thinks 'Well I have a strong community, I have a strong community,' and I’m sure they do. But I know the strong community and the ties that we have out here at Freeman,” Hoyer said.
Hoyer said she knows firsthand how their community unites after loss. Nearly three years ago she lost her daughter, Lane’s mother, due to a heart condition.
“There’s nothing in the world like losing a child,” Hoyer said.
She spoke of how parents, friends, and school staff helped make meals, counsel, and care for the family in the months after her daughter's passing.
Lane remembers his mom's death too.
“It took us a while to get through her passing, but that’s what we’re going to do with what’s happened yesterday,” Lane said.
That's why they returned to the school after the shooting with a purpose.
“I’m here to encourage those who lost somebody, encourage the families who have hurt children. or children who are hurt or scared,” Hoyer said. “And whatever we can do to show support and love on one another is what we’re going to do, we’re Scotty’s.”
Lane says when he can go back to school he’ll look forward to that opportunity.
“It was a really bad day at Freeman yesterday, but I have gone to Freeman since preschool and I will be there for my entire life,” Lane said with a smile. “I am glad that I get to go to such an amazing school with such amazing friends and such amazing students and staff.”