Vigil held in West Hartford for victims of Las Vegas mass shooti - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Vigil held in West Hartford for victims of Las Vegas mass shooting

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A vigil for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting was held in West Hartford. (WFSB) A vigil for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting was held in West Hartford. (WFSB)
WEST HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Vigils were held throughout Connecticut including in West Hartford on Wednesday night for the victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting.

In Blue Back Square, one mother touched by gun violence shared her emotional story.  Janet Rice attended tonight's vigil because she can't stop thinking about the family members of the victims in Las Vegas. Rice said she knows the depth of their pain all too well.

“I still have days where I just want to scream,” Rice said.

Rice’s son Shane Oliver was shot and killed on the streets of Hartford in 2012.  He was just 20 years old at the time of the shooting.

“Life as I knew it was turned upside down,” Rice said.

For three years after Oliver died, Rice said her grief paralyzed her, but now she has found her voice.

“It's so sad and my heart really does go out to those lives that were lost,” Rice said.

Rice spoke at the vigil in West Hartford honoring the victims in Las Vegas.  She works with the Compass Peacebuilders to prevent gun deaths and help young people. However, Rice said the latest tragedy makes it seem like nothing can stop the violence.

“it's very frustrating it really is,” Rice said. “It's sad.” 

By the end of the vigil, Rice said all the love restored her faith. She wants families of the victims to know they can still find hope in unlikely places such as when she learned after Oliver’s death that his girlfriend was pregnant. Her granddaughter also named Shayne is four years old now.

“She looks exactly like him,” Rice said. “Sometimes I look at her and tears fall because she looks so much like he did.” 

But, Rice said she believes hope and Wednesday night's kind words only go so far.  She stands with the vigil's organizers including Women's March Connecticut and Connecticut Against Gun Violence in asking for what they call common sense gun control laws. 

“It's not gonna bring my son back,” Rice said. “It gonna bring the 59 victims in Las Vegas back it's not gonna bring the 26 victims of sandy hook but it can stop. It can help.”  

More demonstrations will be held over the next few days. The Compass Peacebuilders will hold a stop the violence march on Saturday beginning at the State Capitol at 10 a.m. 

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