OAKLAND — Hundreds of people gathered at the Oakland boat landing Sunday night to light candles and hold a moment of silence for the victims of a triple murder-suicide that has left many in the community shocked in the aftermath of some of the worst violence the town has ever seen.

“We really wanted a time for the community to stop and reflect,” said Jamie Dickson, pastor at the Kingdom Life Church and an organizer of the vigil. “We can’t allow things like this to happen in our community and expect people to not be affected by them. This is a time to reflect and come together and also to bring awareness to how we can honor the lives that were lost and recognize the needs of the community.”

Dickson and other area clergy led the group in prayers and reflection, reminding them that as they mourn the three victims in the shooting to also remember the family they left behind. Sisters Amanda Bragg and Amy DeRosby and Bragg’s boyfriend, Michael Muzerolle, died Wednesday after being shot by DeRosby’s boyfriend, Herman DeRico, in the two-apartment house they shared at 41 Belgrade Road. Derico then shot himself in the driveway outside the house.

Police at the scene found a 3-year-old child, Arianna, who is the daughter of Bragg and Muzerolle, and was not harmed.

“As we grieve the lives of Amanda, Mike and Amy and offer our love and service to their families, let us also recognize that their moms will need this love and support in the light of day as well as in the evening shadow,” said Rev. Effie McAboy McClain, pastor at the Oakland Sidney United Methodist Church. “Their families will need love and community to continue long after the cameras have gone and the gossip has died down.”

“Arrianna will need people to guide, direct and love her in life so she may know she is loved and she is special,” McAboy McClain said.

Muzerolle, 29, was the nephew of Oakland Police Chief Mike Tracy, who was at the vigil along with other family members. Tracy said the family did not want to comment Sunday night, but that they were “just trying to soak up the love” from the community.

“We’re all here to support the families and help the community heal,” said Kathy Paradis, an Oakland resident who also works at the town office. “The community itself is still pretty shaken up, but I think this is a good start to the healing process.”

“It’s hard,” said Somar Evans, another resident at the vigil who said she knew both DeRosby and DeRico. “It’s a tragic event and it was so close to home.”

James Nadeau, who went to high school with Bragg at Winslow High School, said he remembered her as a “great girl with a great personality.”

“She was very talented and had a lot going for her,” Nadeau said. “There are a lot of people here tonight, which is good, because that’s a lot of support and love. It’s good to have everybody here.”

Sunday night was also about uniting the Oakland community, which has been affected by several tragedies in the last year, including the death last year of a Messalonskee High School student who was killed in a hayride accident in Mechanic Falls.

“We’re a proud people, and we come together in a crisis,” said Oakland police Officer Tracey Frost, the high school’s resource officer. “There’s no real value you can put on that.”

Frost talked about many of the good things about the Oakland community and said that over the last few days he has talked with many residents who have pointed to the house at 41 Belgrade Road and said, “This isn’t Oakland.”

“They’re right,” Frost said. “This gathering, this celebration of hope, this is Oakland. When evil does arrive, the challenge is not to let it define us. When people come from outside our community and they see us, this gathering is what I want them to think of. We want our residents to know that when bad things happen in central Maine, they can count on their neighbors and their community.”

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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