HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (KGO) -- There is no denying the hurt being felt across Half Moon Bay this week after a mass shooting. Part of the messaging at a Friday night vigil held at Mac Dutra Plaza was togetherness will help the healing process.
The community saw a collective effort by city officials, businesses, nonprofits and interfaith organizations. Many, including residents, shared there is just so much about the farm working community that they did not know.
Several hundred people gripped onto candles, grieving as a community.
In Downtown Half Moon Bay, an official event was held to honor the seven killed this week, and to support the sole survivor.
Many in the crowd admitted that in the aftermath, every detail released has been eye-opening.
"It is so sad that it takes a tragedy like lost lives to see what's in the community right around us," resident Jackie Tinghitella told ABC7 News. "That sometimes we're just really unaware of."
Tinghitella and others said they had no idea about the farmworkers' living conditions and less than livable wages being paid. This unknown reality, only compounding the community's pain.
Resident Elise Gasper said, "It's hard to see that here, where we have such affluence, such wealth, that there's people living just less than a mile away with very, very little... terrible conditions."
"How anybody could let someone that worked for them live like that... I don't understand it," Mayor Deborah Penrose said, as she spoke with reporters ahead of the vigil.
VIDEO: 'Deplorable' living conditions at Half Moon Bay mushroom farm where multiple farmworkers were killed
Penrose explained she was unaware Chinese migrants were part of the local farming community. Among the victims killed, two were Latino, five were Chinese.
Resident Jun Xu, who identified as a Chinese immigrant himself, shared, "To be honest, I've lived here for 2.5 years and I didn't realize there was a Chinese immigrant community here."
"I did not realize there's so many kind of like people living in kind of like - if you look at the TV reports - the conditions really bad," he continued.
However, where there's shock, surprise and sadness, there's also newfound inspiration to get involved for a better future for farmworkers.
Chuang Wang told ABC7 News, "They work so hard and this happened to them. It's so unfair."
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Renato Juarez Perez addressed Friday's crowd. Two of his cousins were shooting victims. One is recovering, while the other did not survive.
Translated from Spanish, he explained, "I'm very sad and I feel much pain."
It's pain on full display, Friday.
"We have lost our neighbors, we have lost our workers," Mayor Penrose said. "We have lost a part of our heart."
The healing process continues next Tuesday, with a 4 p.m. interfaith memorial service at 530 Kelly Ave., a candlelight procession, and dinner and fellowship at IDES Hall.
TAKE ACTION: Resources for people impacted by Half Moon Bay mass shooting
Get the latest on the deadly Half Moon Bay shootings here.
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