Los Angeles couple builds altars for victims of Highland Park parade shooting

Diane Pathieu Image
Thursday, July 7, 2022
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As the Highland Park community still tries to make sense of what happened, people from around the nation are showing up for support.

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- As the Highland Park community still tries to make sense of what happened, people from around the country are showing up for support.

Eric Freibrun still cannot believe a mass shooting took place in his community. He was there, taking pictures of his son marching with the band just as the shots rang out.

"I heard the gunfire," he said. "We were maybe 50 feet 75 feet west of where things appeared to be happening. I didn't recognize it as gunfire. I thought, 'No, this cannot be, not here.'"

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Stories like Freibrun's fill the air here in Highland Park. Everyone here seems to know someone effected by the tragedy.

Noah Reich and his partner, David, are connected to this tragedy in a different way.

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They traveled here from Los Angeles to build altars for the seven victims. They started this practice after the Pulse Nightclub shooting.

"We were in Buffalo where we honored the 10 victims that were lost at the Tops on Jefferson, and while we were there is actually when we found out the news about what had taken place in Uvalde," Reich said. "So we traveled to Uvalde, where we worked to create 22 altars to honor the 19 children and two teachers lost there."

Then they heard about the shooting here, jumped on a plane and built an altar for each of the victims.

"If we're not going to do anything to stop these tragedies, how do we make sure we are honoring and remembering each and every life we are losing along the way?" Reich said.

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The entire community is coming together to support one another. Residents are placing flowers at another growing memorial and even dropping off food and gift cards at the police and fire departments as a way to say thank you.

"Highland Parkers love to help and to give back," resident Elise Frost said.