A diverse crowd estimated by police at about 3,500 packed the San Manuel Stadium on Thursday, a municipal baseball park downtown, for a candlelight memorial.
As hundreds gathered to honor the San Bernardino victims, relatives and friends of shooting victims found warmth and support at the vigil.
Among the attendees was Arlen Verdehyou accompanied by his three children. Verdehyou's wife Benetta Bet-Badal was one of the shooting victims.
"I took the kids to school and she was getting ready to go to work, to go to conference and that was the last moment we saw and half an hour later I texted and say have a great day and that was it," said Verdehyou a police officer recalling the last time he saw his wife.
Bet-Badal according to her LinkedIn page worked for the county's environmental health services. At age 18 immigrated to the United States fleeing the Islamic extremists and the persecution of Christians.
"Well, why does anybody come to the United States, the land of opportunity, better success, better education, better life and when you're being raised as a Christian in a Muslim country you're a second hand citizen, so she came in to have a better life, better education and everything else and unfortunately it was taken away from her at an early age," said Verdehyou with his three children by his side, ages 10, 12 and 15, holding a family portrait.
Members of the community like Mirian Lino attended the vigil to support and stand next to the friends of family of victims.
"We need to be strong and even though we might not be related to any of the victims or we might not know them, I feel it still resonates a lot with us because we're all hurting. It happened in our community and it hurts us all," said Lino, a resident of San Bernardino.
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