HIGHLAND PARK (WLS) -- A moment of silence in Highland Park Monday marked one week since the deadly parade shooting that killed seven people and injured more than 30 others on the Fourth of July.
Seven bells tolled, one for each victim, at exactly 10:14 a.m., the moment the first 911 call came in.
Robert Crimo III, 21, has been charged with seven counts of first degree murder in their deaths, and more charges are expected to follow.
It will take much longer than a week for the rawness of the community's pain and grief to go away, but being together in Port Clinton Square was clearly important for those who came together to mark the moment.
"It's more like a punch in the stomach feeling for me, you know, that's constant. And it's like a wave," said Nour Rishmawy, who visited the memorial.
"I think it's part of the grieving process and part of the healing process for the town, you know, seeing businesses open up and having people have the opportunity to pay their respects and just mourn those and respect those that lost their lives," business owner Sammy Lubeck said.
Port Clinton has become the center of the city's grieving process since it reopened Sunday. White ribbons are tied to the benches, and chalk messages have been drawn all around it.
"We desire peace," read ones. "This must stop," says another. A group of crisis-trained chaplains have also been on hand to lend an ear to those in need.
"Some people want to tell their story and they want someone to just listen. Other people want someone to pray with them and sometimes just walk alongside someone, just stand with them," said Frieda Roulds, chaplain with Billy Graham Crisis Response Ministries.
Highland Park firefighters also came to mark the moment; they need support as much as anyone else in the community, as many of them went from riding in the parade with their families to disaster response in the blink of an eye.
"There's a lot of the emotions of that day, you don't have time to process. You're working with adrenaline and you do your work. The instinct that you're taught, of taking care of people," said Fire Chief Joe Schrage.
A candlelight vigil to pray for the victims is planned for Wednesday evening.
More businesses reopen their door 1 week after shooting
More businesses along Central Avenue, the epicenter of the shooting, opened their doors to customers and the community at large Monday, despite some mixed feelings.
"I'm not going anywhere. I'm still here," said Marison Price, owner of Ooh'lah Lash. "It's so much sadness that's happened here in our community."
What should have been the start to a normal work week is instead marked with pain.
"I was cleansing the energy. It took one person to affect a lot of people here, and I don't want that energy to affect me or my clients," Price said.
Noell Vaughn returned to the business district to shop, the same area she was stranded in the panic one week ago.
"A week later we, like I said, after a lot of really intense therapy and work, we are here again," she said. "And I saw our community starting to heal."
It is impossible not to feel the weight of the moment in uptown Highland Park, but residents say they refuse to fall short of healing in the wake of the shooting.
"Love is the bravest act. So, my message to my neighbors is hopefully the same message they would give to me, which is that we are here together," said Mark Haggarty, Highland Park resident.
Highland Park Library, Family Assistance Center offer mental health support for community
The Highland Park Public Library allows service animals, and Monday two miniature horses were allowed inside to help local families.
"It's a proven fact that animals are great therapists," said Dina Morgan, Mane in Heaven Miniature Therapy Horses. "They are not judgmental, you can pet them, you can hug them, it reduces anxiety, it just brings comfort."
Winnie and Poppy are available to pet and cuddle as needed Monday and Wednesday.
Executive Director Heidi Smith asked that ABC7 not bring its cameras inside during the session, but said they are also offering counseling and books on grieving.
"It might not be time for a book yet, that's OK," she said. "We are bigger than a building and more than books, and we are here for everyone whatever support they need."
Laura Cottrell, a therapist with Hummingbird Pediatric Therapies, is one of their counselors offering a free Zoom session Monday evening to help families guide children through grief and trauma. She said helping kids cope with these deep and often new feelings can give them skills to cope with other challenges in life.
And the Family Assistance Center at Highland Park High School continues to offer mental health support, with professionals on hand to speak to any victims or community members. People can also still pick up any missing belongings.
There are English and Spanish bilingual services available.
The center has adjusted their hours slightly; the following are the Family Assistance Center's updated hours for the week of July 11 through 15:
Monday 7/11/2022 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Tuesday 7/12/2022 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Wednesday 7/13/2022 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Thursday 7/14/2022 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Friday 7/15/2022 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Highland Park Community Foundation has also launched a response fund to raise money for victims and survivors, or the organizations supporting them. For more information and to make a donation, click here.