RANCHO TEHAMA (CBS13) — More than 100 people crowded the community center building in Rancho Tehama Wednesday evening for a candlelight vigil in honor of the lives lost in a shooting a day earlier.
“I will strengthen you yes, I will help you,” said a pastor during the vigil.
Many people shared words of comfort and solitude for one another.
“I’m sorry for everyone here,” said one man.
“No children should have to go through this or parents,” said Gladys Diaz.
Her son, Mario, was only feet away from his classmate who was shot at Rancho Tehama Elementary School during Tuesday’s rampage.
“He’s having nightmares, and I’m hoping he doesn’t have nightmares tonight,” said Diaz.
A surreal situation for all involved including the uncle of Alejandro Hernandez, the child who was shot and is now in critical condition.
“These things happen in New York or L.A., big cities,” said the uncle. “Not in Rancho Tehama.”
It’s a small town of just 1,500 people. The shots during the morning hours could be heard for miles. The gunman attacked his neighbors and random people along the road, ultimately killing five people and injuring 14 others before being shot dead by police.
It’s a tragedy that could have been worse.
“There are certain parts of it that I’m still not ready to talk about,” said Jennifer Bauman, taking a deep breath.
Bauman is a 1st- and 2nd-grade teacher at Rancho Tehama Elementary.
“It was just terrifying,” said Bauman, “the only sounds I could hear where the shots.”
She and other teachers are being called heroes for their quick actions.
“My classroom door didn’t lock, so I held onto it,” explained Bauman.
She was able to keep calm under duress and stay focused on the young lives in her room.
“I just did what I needed to do for those kids,” she said.
All this was happening while a man shot round after round from his rifle outside.
“Those kids, they’re the heroes from yesterday,” said Bauman.
Classes at Rancho Tehama have been canceled until Thanksgiving.