Vigil Honors Victims of Medford Shooting

Classmates, town officials and religious leaders console a community in mourning.

Rows of people gathered outside in the parking lot of the Brookhaven Amphitheater on Bald Hill holding umbrellas and each other to shield themselves from a slight, but constant, drizzle during a vigil for the victims of the quadruple that took place at a Medford drugstore on Father's Day.

Many up front were classmates of , 17, the youngest slain, who was days away from Bellport High School.  The teenagers clutched white candles, the flames of which kept being snuffed out by the wind and rain, only to be relit again and again.

Mejia's friend Kayla Fee, 15, echoed the sentiments of those whose lives were touched by Jennifer.  

"She was always smiling, always there to support you even if she didn't know you.  She was a walking angel on earth.  Now she's one in heaven and we all love her," Fee said.

Brittany Newell, 16, is another of Mejia’s friends that spoke at the vigil.

"She would be so proud of what she did for the community.  People were hugging each other that didn't even like each other.  The meanest people apologized.  She taught us all that life is too short," Newell said.

Brookhaven Town Officials and community religious leaders also spoke at the event, organized by Central Islip's Pastor Glenn Diener.

"This is a community service.  This is for you," Diener said.

"It's a vigil for healing for the community," Joseph LoSchiavo, Patchogue-Medford Board of Education member said.  "They need to get drugs off the street, and prescription drugs need to be monitored more closely.  If you don't address the problem, it's just going to recur. It's got to be a wake up call."

Suffolk County Leg. Jack Eddington praised the efforts of residents in helping to ensure that will be served.  "The police commissioner said never before had they seen a community come together like this.  They got over 400 tips that helped," Eddington said.

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Mark Lesko recalled his days as a homicide prosecutor, and the inevitable questions he would be faced with of why did this happen.

"I can't provide an answer as to why.  I can tell all of you who care about the victims of horrific crimes what we can do:  They can remember the time they laughed the hardest, freeze that moment in their mind, and then we pursue justice for them," Lesko said.  "I assure you at the end of the day justice will be done."

Town Clerk Patricia Eddington said that she often goes to , where the incident occurred.  She and her husband Jack Eddington have lived in Medford since 1973.

"I think it was probably the most frightening thing that ever happened in this little community ... We need to recognize that there's a tremendous drug problem.  We need to teach our children, and make sure they recognize what drugs can do," Patricia Eddington said.


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