Rainfall, memories dampen memorial
Conversation topics drifted from the rain, wind and the trees towering above them. But the exchange often returned to Nevada County’s somber anniversary as a small group of people stood around a bench at the fairgrounds Friday morning.
The rain wasn’t falling like it did two years ago, they remarked. And there was no wind to speak of, nothing like the gusts that sprayed the rain sideways on that blustery, horrific day.
On the bench was a rose and two lit candles. A plaque on the back rest explained why they gathered:
In the beginning of the year and when it ends, remember them.
For my friend LAURA WILCOX and all those whose lives were changed by the tragic events of 1-10-2001.
“It’s respect,” Edzards’ husband, Darrel Edzards, said. “This isn’t about us. Its about the other families.”
Judith Edzards, who survived life-threatening gunshot wounds in the tragedy, declined to comment publicly – a stance she’s maintained since her return home from a long recovery in hospitals, and therapy. The event was too traumatic.
But she spoke easily with friends and family, sharing tears and hugs with her husband, brother, sister, a co-worker and Wilcox’s parents, Nick and Amanda.
The event was more understated than last year’s memorials, which included a monument dedication outside the Rood Administrative Center and a gun control march from Lyon’s Restaurant to the county Department of Behavioral Health.
On Jan. 10, 2001, Edzards suffered multiple gunshot wounds at the Behavioral Health clinic, where she was a supervising health technician.
Laura Wilcox, a 19-year-old college student and temporary clerk, was fatally shot, as was 68-year-old Pearlie Mae Feldman, who had brought a family member to an appointment.
Another co-worker of Edzards, Daisy Switzer, was seriously hurt leaping from a second-floor window to safety.
The alleged gunman, former mental health client Scott Thorpe, is also accused of continuing the shooting spree at Lyon’s Restaurant, where assistant manager Mike Markle, 24, was fatally shot and cook Rick Senuty was wounded.
Like Edzards, some involved in the shooting – either family members or officers – didn’t wish to share their reflections.
At the fairgrounds, the Wilcoxes said the holidays in general have been tough, as was Friday.
Standing near the bench, Dionne Mussetto, a licensed clinical social worker, said she left her job at the Behavioral Health Department after the shootings.
Mussetto recalled vulnerability as she hid in a room with picture windows a floor below the shooting scene. She recalled seeing Feldman in the lobby and hearing Edzards’ screams.
“My life will forever be impacted by that event,” she said. “And I am not the only one. That’s a pretty universal statement.”
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