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Collierville community comes together a year after tragedy

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COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. (WMC) – The community came together Friday to remember a life lost and to support survivors on the first anniversary of the mass shooting that took place in Collierville Kroger.

One woman was killed and 13 others were injured during the frenzy on September 23, 2021.

The community of Collierville and many others in the state were shaken that day.

On Friday, they came together to show the strength of community and share the grief left by this tragedy.

Wes King, the son of murdered victim Olivia King, remembers his mother as a woman who loved her community and was strong in her faith and her family.

“The hardest thing about the last year is reconciling the fact that she’s gone and the undeniable fact that she shouldn’t be,” King said.

Collierville Fire Chief John Selberg will never forget that day.

He says the collaboration between police and firefighters was above and beyond.

“The store was unsecured, but they entered and immediately began treating the patient,” Chief Selber said. “What I saw that day, they saved several lives and that was one of the things I was most proud of.”

Friday’s remembrance was also about acknowledging and embracing community grief.

Angela Hamblen-Kelly of the Baptist Center for Good Grief says she has seen this community come together and support each other over the past year.

“When we as a community experience trauma, we are drawn to each other,” Hamblen-Kelly said. “We want to be with each other. We want to be with people who share this pain, this shared experience. And that’s what healing is. It comes from sharing and allowing others to carry your grief.

A year after losing his mother, King thanked the people of Collierville for their love and support.

He shared a message for change so this doesn’t happen to another family:

“Let’s remember the things that are happening in our culture that lead to these events and ask what we can do,” King said. “What can we do differently? Because clearly what we’re doing isn’t working, and I think that starts with prayer. I think it starts with forgiveness. I think it starts with love. True love. The love of God.”

The Shelby County Crime Victims and Rape Crisis Center as well as the Baptist Center for Good Grief provided resources to the community.

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