WINTHROP (CBS) — Days after an alleged white supremacist killed two black people in what investigators say was a racist rampage, the community came together Wednesday night to begin the healing process.
At the Temple Tifereth Israel, members of the Jewish community - both from Winthrop and surrounding towns - gathered to pray together and get answers. The head of the Temple told WBZ-TV that investigators believe the temple was the intended target of Nathan Allen until he crashed a stolen box truck just half a mile away.
"It's terrifying because I have family and friends that come here," Bob Kaiser said. He is originally from Winthrop but drove from his home in Haverhill to come to the gathering and show his support. "This shows whether we are black or Jewish or in any minority group, if these people hate any of us, they hate all of us," he said.
"You are shocked, you are saddened by it, but you are not surprised," said Alex Powell, who lives in Winthrop and came to the Wednesday night meeting.
As a Jewish community came together to seek answers and grieve, the memorial along the fence at the scene of the crime grew.
A short distance down the road, a few dozen Winthrop residents came to the Senior Center, where the town health department hosted a walk-in for anyone who needed someone to talk to.
Therapists, community leaders, child specialists, and even therapy dogs were present. "There are folks that are having a hard time sleeping," said Meredith Hurley, the Winthrop Public Health Director. "There are folks that are feeling jittery and agitated."
More than anything, she said, people are worried about their kids, many of whom witnessed the tragic crime and aftermath. Since Winthrop is a small town of fewer than 2 square miles, nearly everyone has some connection to what happened. "A lot of people are feeling like 'I could have been there or I was there or if I took a left instead of taking a right,'" she explained. "So people are feeling that vulnerability, really raw."
The town is hosting a vigil for the two victims, David Green and Ramona Cooper, outside the Town Hall on Thursday at 7 p.m.
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