OAKDALE SHOOTING: Peace sought at vigil for Devin Aryal - New York News

OAKDALE SHOOTING: Peace sought at vigil for Devin Aryal

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Neighbors in Oakdale came together on Tuesday night in search of peace and hope in the wake of the random shooting that left a 9-year-old boy dead and injured two others.

Holy Cross Lutheran Church was packed with mourners and neighbors who joined in song and prayer inside the sanctuary to remember Devin Aryal, who was shot and killed while he rode toward home in a minivan with his mother.

So many people gathered that the vigil itself was delayed by about 15 minutes while people found places to park.

"We wanted to come out to just come for the family, I guess," Oakdale resident Ana LeVasseur told FOX 9 News. "I felt so bad."

A picture of Aryal hung in the front of the sanctuary before a backdrop of the artwork made by children who were given a place to color and paint inside the church. In that setting, Pastor John Stiles led the candlelight vigil and told all who gathered that the senseless violence has to stop.

"It could be anybody's child," he said. "Both my kids went to Oakdale Elementary School. We raised our family here. We love Oakdale. It's a wonderful place to have a family. This is a kind of thing not wished on anybody -- just a horrible tragedy."

Many at the vigil say they felt like they lost their own son or brother. LeVasseur said Aryal was a classmate of her son Mike. His teacher broke the news to the students in class on Tuesday.

"Everybody started crying," Mike Thomas recalled. "We went and we talked with someone about what happened. We were all sad."

Aryal's mother was also injured, as was 68-year-old Karen Knoblach, who was struck in the hand and leg and remains hospitalized. With so many impacted, many at the vigil said the rampage really feels like an attack on the entire community.

Police arrested 34-year-old Nhan Tran in the shooting, but no motive has been determined. He is expected to be charged on Wednesday.

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