MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (WDTN) — Community members from across Butler County gathered in Middletown looking to comfort each other after a school shooting so close to home.
On Monday, hundreds of people gathered outside Middletown High School to pray and look for peace after students and staff at Madison Jr./Sr. High School went through a horrifying experience.
“Just so many faces you don’t know that are obviously concerned about your school district and what your community is going through,” said Jeff Smith.
Smith is a physical education teacher at Madison Local Schools. He was in the gym with about 35 students when he heard the gunshots in the neighboring cafeteria.
“We just rushed our gym kids back to the locker rooms for safety,” said Smith. “And I called my wife because I thought this could be it. I might not get to talk to her again.”
For others at Monday night’s vigil, the shooting was a little too close to home.
“I started shaking a little bit and wondering what was going on and if they were okay,” said Wesley Brewer, who has a family member and several coworkers who attend Madison Jr./Sr. High School.
Area churches also held vigils for the community in need of support.
Some gathered at Unity Baptist Church in Middletown, where prayers were offered.
Another vigil, at Spring Hill Church of Christ, offered one-on-one counseling sessions for about 20 parishioners who attend the school.
No matter where the support came from, members of the Madison Township and Middletown communities were finding a bit of comfort after Monday’s school shooting.
“You certainly don’t expect it, when you get out of bed, that this day is going to be any different than any other day,” said Smith.
Madison Local Schools have canceled classes for Tuesday. Teachers at the vigils urged students to take the time to comfort each other.