OLD BRIDGE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Friends gathered Friday night to mourn the innocent victims of a New Jersey gunman’s rampage.
Hugs and tears along with candles illuminated the loss of the two former Old Bridge High School students during a vigil.
“I was just in shock, like everybody I’m sure. But you can’t say ‘Oh that doesn’t happen here.’ We’ve have plenty of tragedies and it’s just another one. It just makes you so sad,” Virginia Hamlin, a teacher at Old Bridge High told 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon.
Cristina LoBrutto, 18, had just graduated and was apparently working her first overnight shift at the Old Bridge Pathmark where 23-year-old Terence Tyler opened fire Friday morning. Bryan Breen, 24, who graduated six years ago from the same school, was attending Middlesex County College.
Prosecutors said Tyler, an ex-Marine who started working at the store two weeks ago. They said he shot his two co-workers before turning the gun on himself around 4 a.m. Friday morning.
“Christina was awesome, and I think everyone should be here, because she was just someone that you liked being around. I just saw her last week, so this is kind of scary for me,” student Tara Gaffney told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis.
Two students even arrived at the vigil wearing purple representing the Class of 2012 and carrying a bouquet of flowers for the victims.
“Christina was on my bus, she was always smiling — it’s a real tragedy what happened. She doesn’t deserve it — nobody does,” said one sophomore told 1010 WINS’ Rincon.
Hundreds attended the vigil, which is just the first step in beginning of the healing process. Grief counseling will also be available for students and staff on Tuesday, the day before classes begin.
School board president Eugene Donofrio is one of many in the tight-knight Old Bridge High School community mourning the students’ loss.
“I’m personally friends of the LoBrutto family, and they were very active in that child’s life,” Donofrio tearfully told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis.
The school’s flag is now at half-staff. Friends said Lubrutto was working extra shifts to earn money and Friday was her first overnight at the Old Bridge Pathmark.
“You know we always told our kids to work hard, go to school and good things will happen in life. And she followed those rules — she was a good child, she did good in school and she worked, and she went to work today and it cost her life,” Donofrio said.
Tyler was working a night shift with 12 to 14 other employees when he left the store around 3:30 a.m., Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan said at a news conference.
He came back a short time later armed with an AK-47 and an automatic pistol and opened fire, shooting randomly at his co-workers, Kaplan said. Tyler then killed himself.
Breen is remembered as a high school wrestler and was attending Middlesex County College. His family in Old Bridge gathered at their home, with a police officer ensuring their privacy.
One neighbor said Breen gave no hint to his family of any prior problems at work.
“He was a good kid, not a kid that would have gotten into trouble,” June Laumay said.
The prosecutor said he does not believe the victims were specifically targeted.
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