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A candlelight vigil was held in Westcliffe Wednesday night to honor shooting victims

Posted at 8:30 AM, Nov 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-30 10:42:34-05

WESTCLIFFE, Colo. — The community of Westcliffe, Colorado came together on Wednesday night for a vigil, honoring the three people who were killed in a shooting last week. The incident occurred in Custer County after an ongoing property dispute between neighbors.

The Custer County Coroner has identified the people who died as 63-year-old Rob Geers, 73-year-old Beth Wade and 58-year-old James Daulton. A fourth person, Patty Daulton, was airlifted to a hospital in Colorado Springs for her injuries.

"This is a spontaneous growth from the community that wants to show that they love very dearly the people who have passed but also share that love to their families as well, " Custer County Sheriff Rich Smith said.

He said this past week has been tough. But he is proud of the hard work his deputies have done and is thankful for the partnering agencies who have assisted his team. Smith said this community is heaven on earth and very tight-knit.

“It's hard to find someone in this small community that did not know people involved in that,” Smith said.

On Wednesday evening, residents in Westcliffe and the surrounding areas gathered inside the west gym at the Custer County school.

“Everyone in the community wants to honor the victims,” Smith said.

The ceremony started with a message and a prayer.

“I would like to say thank you for coming tonight, to represent our community, to be a family in our community, and support one another in this hard time, I would like to ask you to stand in prayer,” one of the vigil's speakers said.

Afterward, people paused for a moment of silence and the three victims were read out loud.

Attendees were able to pick up a candle and head outside to shine their light in a remembrance ceremony. People stood and handed out candles on the sidewalk along Main Street in Westcliffe.

"The focus of the vigil is on the victims and their families and obviously not all of them can come because they are spread around the nation and so I just want them to know that this community has their back and is supporting them,” Smith said.

There were also two clinicians from Solvista Health who were available to meet with people who might have needed some assistance or just wanted to talk.

Solvista Health provides mental health support to four counties in Colorado, including Custer County.

They also have resources for coping with symptoms of trauma. They said after a traumatic event the most important thing to do is to be with people and not be alone. They have additional information regarding coping with trauma on their website.

Solvista Health also has 24/7/365 access to mobile crisis response, people can call 719-275-235.

“If I could say anything to the victims I would say this whole effort is for them,” Smith said.

At the vigil, you could see people were hurting but you could feel the love and support the people have for one another in this town.

Candlelight vigil held in Westcliffe, honoring three victims