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First responders mark anniversary of 2016 Cascade Mall shooting

Emergency personnel stand in front of an entrance to the Cascade Mall at the scene of a shooting where several people were killed Friday, Sept. 23, 2016, in Burlington, Wash.
Emergency personnel stand in front of an entrance to the Cascade Mall at the scene of a shooting where several people were killed Friday, Sept. 23, 2016, in Burlington, Wash. AP

For first responders and the larger community, the one-year anniversary of the Cascade Mall shooting was another step on the road to healing.

“This is the first of many anniversaries of this event,” said Burlington Mayor Steve Sexton. “I hope and pray that every year it gets a little easier.”

Sexton and a group of firefighters, police officers and paramedics left flowers in front of the Cascade Mall sign Saturday morning. Many of those first responders were there the night of the shooting, Sexton said, and are still healing.

Flowers could also be seen Saturday morning outside Macy’s where five people were killed Sept. 23, 2016, delivered by first responders and community members throughout the day.

Cascade Mall has a sculpture called “Into His Wings” by Burlington artist Roger Small memorializing the victims of the 2016 shooting.

The flowers honored Shayla Martin, 52, of Mount Vernon; Belinda Galde, 64, of Arlington; Beatrice Dotson, 95, of Kingsport, Tennessee; Chuck Eagan, 61, of Lake Stevens; and Sarai Lara, 16, of Mount Vernon.

The response from police, fire and paramedics that night, Sexton said, was astounding.

“Now it’s on us, and it’s been on us this last year, to respond to them,” he said. “They’re still dealing with it.”

He said the city has offered counseling for all city staff affected by the shooting. The city will continue to support them “100 percent,” he said.

Cascade Mall displayed a sculpture by Burlington artist Roger Small memorializing the victims inside the mall Saturday. Called “Into His Wings,” the sculpture depicts five figures in front of a larger, angel-like figure ready to embrace them in its wings.

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