"My son just could not come. He said, 'Mom, I cannot do this yet'," said Paula Newberry.
Today's service, the first of many here, was for 16-year-old John Tomlin, reports CBS News Correspondent John Blackstone.
"You never think it'd be your neighbor or the kid who grew up behind us sprinting from the gunmen shooting all around him," said Pete Romenesko, in tears. "It's hard for everybody."
Inside the Foothills Bible Church today, just up the road from the school where he died, John Tomlin was remembered today as a young man who loved God, and who also loved his old Chevrolet truck.
"The first thing john ever asked me was 'Ford or Chevy?'," said a friend, of John's passion for cars.
His family remembered a teenager with a big smile and a helping hand.
"He was a really good brother and I really miss him," said Ashley Tomlin, 11.
Doreen Tomlin says her eldest son brought only happiness to the world.
"He has such a sense of humor," remembered Mrs. Tomlin. "He always made funny faces at me. I'd say, 'John, can you just look at me normally'."
And today, John Tomlin's faith gave comfort to others.
"I miss him. And I am so glad to see how God's using this and I'm so glad to see he's not going to be forgotten," said Michelle Oetter, who was John's girlfriend.
It is a measure of the pain here that even the criminal investigation will be suspended for a day. Law enforcement officers working on the case will be given Sunday off to attend religious services and spend time with their families, as this community grieves and prays.