Small Wisconsin Town To Begin Burying 6 Young People Killed This Week
Friday, October 12th 2007, 7:33 am
News On 6
CRANDON, Wis. (AP) _ Pastor Bill Farr's son grew up with Tyler Peterson, the young sheriff's deputy who shot and killed six friends and injured a seventh before killing himself. The two hunted and fished together, he said.
Now, Farr is struggling to find the right words for his eulogy of the 20-year-old man who caused this close-knit community so much pain. Meanwhile, he must work to ease the suffering of Peterson's family, the victims' families and friends.
Funerals for the seven were to begin Friday with services for 20-year-old Aaron Smith. They are expected to take place over the course of the next week.
``A lot of times what I do, I'll sit down in the office or on our couch at home and ... I'll just say, `OK Lord, what do you want me to do?' because I just don't know,'' said Farr, pastor of Praise Chapel Community Church, which several of the families attend.
Peterson, who was also a part-time police officer, killed himself hours after he shot and killed his former girlfriend Jordanne Murray, 18, at her home early Sunday.
He also fatally shot Bradley Schultz, 20; Lianna Thomas, 18; Katrina McCorkle, 18, and Lindsey Stahl, 14. A seventh victim, Charlie Neitzel, 21, was hospitalized in fair condition.
Farr will also officiate at the funerals of Schultz, Stahl and Thomas.
He said that when he eulogizes Peterson, he does not plan to focus on his last acts, but his rather entire life. ``Tyler is not defined by that one act, but 20 years of good, of helping people,'' he said.
This city of about 2,000 people, known in the region as a vacation destination for hunting, fishing and snowmobiling, now has numerous memorials along its main street. They include yellow ribbons on poles, window displays and a bench that reads simply, ``Love You Guys.''
Peterson's family apologized to the community in a statement earlier this week. ``We are struggling to respond like most of you,'' the statement said. ``We do not know what we should do. Like you many of us are asking why and looking for answers.''
Farr said he planned to share upbeat stories in his eulogies, such as how Stahl's nickname was T-bone, because she was a vegetarian.
``What I want to focus on is the life that they lived,'' he said.