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Hundreds Gather in Downtown Samson For Candlelight Vigil

By: Ryan Rodig
By: Ryan Rodig
Police investigate the scene in Samson, Ala., where Michael McLendon shot and killed four members of his family and five others before turning his gun on himself

Police investigate the scene in Samson, Ala., where Michael McLendon shot and killed four members of his family and five others before turning his gun on himself

"We will never forget any of the victims, but you've got to move forward I guess," said Samson Mayor Clay King Friday. "And it is a difficult task."

But it was a task that hundreds of residents were willing to take on Friday night during a candlelight vigil in downtown Samson. It was just 10 days removed from the deadliest shooting spree in Alabama history. Within minutes nine Samson residents were killed by shooter Michael McClendon.

It was a day Tom Knowles wished he could forget. He says he witnessed the shootings on W. Pullum St. and is struggling with the sounds and images of that day.

"What I am trying to do is just remember to go ahead with life," Knowles said. "I mean, life don't stop. You got to keep going."

Samson Mayor Clay King agreed. He says the city will continue to try and help the families affected any way they can moving forward.

"Continue to go by and visit these families and let them know that you support them ,and that you are there for them," King said.

Samson native and country music artist played a few songs for the crowd that gathered Friday night.

Those attending held a candle in remembrance of the victims, while they balance their desire to never forget.

"One day at a time," says Knowles. "Take baby steps and you can start walking again."

Governor Bob Riley declared Friday a day of prayer and remembrance for the victims of the deadly shootings.


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