On Sunday night, than 100 people gathered in Castro Valley to honor and remember the victims and heroes of the Las Vegas shooting. Some people there also rallied for tougher gun control laws.
East Bay Representative Eric Swalwell organized the vigil hoping to get the conversation started about gun violence. It wasn't just community members who were there to pay their respects but families and those who knew some of the Bay Area victims showed up in mourning.
At a corner in Castro Valley, an estimated 150 people lit candles shining a light on one of the country's darkest days. It’s a community aching from the Las Vegas tragedy one week later
“When I first heard I couldn't believe it,” said Kimberly Sobiech, cousin of Victim Denise Cohen. “It’s like somebody that you know and see all the time. They just can't be gone.”
Cohen along with Denise’s boyfriend Derrick “Bo” Taylor were among the 58 victims killed when gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire from the Mandalay Bay hotel. Cohen and another victim Stacy Echebar both graduated from California High School in San Ramon. David Salenger was a former boss of San Jose native Michelle Vo.
“I’m just doing my best to honor her memory,” said Salenger. “She was a wonderful woman and just trying to do that for her.”
“After a tragedy like this it would be a dishonor to the dead if we looked the other way and said everything we are doing right now works,” said Representative Eric Swalwell, D-Pleasanton.
In the wake of the shooting, Swalwell calling for legislation to take bump stocks off the streets. He also wants stricter background checks on gun owners especially those who buy a stock pile of firearms in a short period of time. Stephen Paddock reportedly bought more than 30 weapons in a 12-month period.
“This individual followed the law which tells me the law isn't working to protect people,” said Swalwell. “If the law allowed him to amass this number of weapons, to have an assault weapon and to use a device that turned a semi-automatic weapon into an automatic weapon than the law is not protecting people.”
“There is no reason why someone needs to have 40 something guns,” said Aaron Lewis of Castro Valley. “I mean one is enough.”
It’s a call for action from lawmakers as the community held signs standing united against hate praying and supporting those whose lives will never be the same
“I want to focus on the families who are healing and they just need to know people everywhere are thinking about them praying for them and hoping each day will be a little bit better,” said Monica Dahl of Castro Valley.
A Hayward resident spoke to KTVU after the vigil. He didn't want to go on camera but said people have lost their lives and loved ones, people shouldn't lose their rights to bear arms.