GROTON — Residents of this rural town gathered for a vigil Sunday afternoon to mourn four people who were bludgeoned to death Friday at a home on Common Street, and to heal as a community.
Around 200 people gathered in a park behind the Groton Public Library and listened quietly as local officials and religious leaders called for them to comfort each other.
“We are neighbors. We are friends. We are not strangers to one another,” said Rev. Elea Kemler, the minister of First Parish Church of Groton who organized the event. “When we come together, we are strong enough to overcome any obstacle.”
The victims, who have not been identified, included an elderly couple and two middle-aged women. Each suffered blunt force trauma, and their bodies were found inside and outside a home at 80 Common St., authorities said.
Orion Krause, 22, of Rockport, Maine, was arrested and charged with four counts of murder Friday night. He is is expected to be arraigned Monday in Ayer District Court in the late morning, the Middlesex district attorney’s office said Sunday night.
The killings, which DA Marian T. Ryan on Friday said was a “tragic incident of family violence,” are still being investigated.
Speakers at the vigil offered prayers to the victims and their families. The elderly couple were kind, and tended to keep to themselves, they said.
As they listened, several people shed tears. Some held flowers or wore ribbons as a symbol of unity. People were encouraged to leave with a candle to light in their home.
Town Manager Mark Haddad thanked Groton’s first responders and told the crowd that the deadly incident “does not define the town.”
Groton, a town of about 11,000 people northwest of Boston, has a long tradition of coming together to help one another, Kemler said.
“That instinct and that yearning to be together is still there, and I also think that when something like this happens, we forget, and then we have to remember that we’re not strangers, and that we know each other,” she said. “And if we don’t then we need to.”
Some said the gathering was an inspiring show of unity.
“It was nice to have this event to come and sort of get together with everybody who’s absorbing that information as well,” said resident Ed O’Rourke. “It was good that we had this gathering.”
“I think people are shaken in Groton that this happened to neighbors so senselessly,” State Rep. Sheila Harrington said in an interview. “I think people get comfort from each other being here today . . . It’s the light that comes from the community that will heal the community.”
“Something traumatic like that does bring people together,” said Ellen Hargraves, a Groton resident who attended the vigil with her husband, former state Rep. Bob Hargraves. “Everybody has . . . much more empathy.”J.D. Capelouto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jdcapelouto.