BAY CITY, Texas Residents of Bay City braved the cold Wednesday night, clasping candles and seeking closure on the steps of a courthouse, one week after a quadruple murder-suicide left four children and their father dead.
I was actually there on the crime scene, Macie Perez said.
She was the one who called 911 after witnessing the disturbance at the family s home.
The only thing that was in my mind was trying to save those kids, she said.
But as it turned out, they couldn t be saved.
Their father, Jose Avila, shot all four children and their mother before turning the gun on himself.
The mother, Laura Gonzalez, survived with serious injuries.
Meanwhile, in the week since the shooting, the community has struggled to come to grips with such a tragedy.
Wednesday night, they gathered to honor the children in death, though many of them never got to know the young victims in life.
We all have kids, and they were kind of our kids, too, Elaine Simons said.
All you can do is pray, be there for the family and hope things get better from there, Devon Mitchell said.
Along with prayers, money was collected at the vigil to help the family with funeral costs.
Employees at the restaurant where Gonzalez used to work also held a barbecue fundraiser to benefit the family.
All of us don t know one another, but we re all bound together by this grief, Judge Nate McDonald said. Yesterday, we were strangers. But today, we re neighbors.
Neighbors who came together, choking back tears, seeking comfort in the chilly night.