Washington County VA

Shooting victims remembered at two vigils

Vigils for shooting victims

At two different vigils on Thursday night, the community began to cope with the loss of a mother, sonm and grandmother who deputies said were killed in Tuesday morning's shooting.

Washington County, Virginia Sheriff's deputies told us Kristin Palmer's husband shot and killed her, her 17-year-old son Griffin, and her mother Nancy Griffin. Kristin's father was wounded. The shooter, Kevin Palmer, then took his own life.

Students, faculty and family gathered at Virginia High School to remember Kristin Palmer, who was a teacher there for 20 years.

At the same time, at Patrick Henry High School, others came together to share memories of her son, Griffin, who was a student at the school. "It's pretty sad and kind of takes me back to all of the memories we had," said Kent Kestner, a classmate.

Kestner has been friends with Griffin since fourth grade. He joined the overflowing crowd at Patrick Henry to share memories of his friend. "A big part of him was his guitar," Kestner told us. "He'd bring it over to my house when we'd hang out. He took it pretty much everywhere he went."

Griffin also played football and baseball, but on Thursday night the colors everyone wore weren't team colors -- many people wore purple in support of domestic violence awareness.

His friends say despite the sadness happening in his life, Griffin always had a  smile on his face. "Everybody really cared about him. He was really funny," said Kevin Thomas, another classmate.

During the Patrick Henry vigil, they video-chatted with the other service across town at Virginia High School for Griffin's mother Kristin Palmer. The auditorium at Virginia High School was also full.

"[We're] gathering together and remembering the good times we had with Kristin, laughing about the fun things that we have done," said Vicky O'Brien, Kristin Palmer's co-worker.

Kristin taught English and drama at the high school. O'Brien told us at the vigil they lit candles and reflected on Kristin's legacy. "I saw her take students who were quiet as little mice, who didn't say five words to anybody, stand down there on that stage and belt out lyrics and words and scripts," O'Brien said about her success in the drama program.

Kristin's students told us she was a role model. "She was someone that I could talk to no matter what," said student Blaise Good. "She was always there and always able to listen well."

Her classmate Cara Barb agreed. "She was very outgoing, and spoke her mind," said Barb.

Those at the vigil told us it's been hard saying goodbye to the Palmers but they said it has helped, doing it together. "We have her memories," said Vicky O'Brien. "The kids have all bound together."

Visitors are being received by family and friends on Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Emory & Henry College chapel. For more information on the services, you can visit the Frost Funeral Home website here.

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