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Bend community searches for healing after shooting tragedy

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Days after a tragic shooting at Safeway on Bend's Eastside in which three people died, including the gunman, community members are searching for answers on how to move forward.

Janice Garceau, director of behavioral health for Deschutes County, says it's normal for people to need support.

"The things we know are that the sooner people -- first, accept the feelings that they're having and acknowledge them, and honor them -- instead of judging them and try to shut them down, the quicker they can move toward healing and recovery," Garceau told NewsChannel 21 on Wednesday. "We know that coming together as a community, however, you do that in your unique community, really is a part of how people heal."

There's a Community Assistance Center at Pilot Butte Middle School available through Friday from 3-7 p.m. It offers one-on-one or small group support for anyone who needs it. Garceau says there's been a big turnout -- more than 50 people the first two days.

"There are so many paths back to a sense of well-being," she said. "The most important thing we can do as friends, as colleagues and community members is extend acceptance and support for the choices that people make to get back to a place that feels more grounded, and safer and more like everyday life."

Garceau says the Community Assistance Center might be extended past Friday, depending on community needs.

One Bend resident wanted to check in with others.

Katie Emerson posted in a Facebook group, asking how people felt about returning to the east Safeway.

Some said going to the shopping center would be hard, or take some time to return. Others say the community should support Safeway employees during this time. And some add they're not going to let one isolated incident change their behavior.

Emerson says she was unsure if she would return to that Safeway, but after seeing support in the comments, she's going to continue shopping there.

"I think it's really important that people are using the resources that are out there, as far as mental health," Emerson said. "For something super-traumatic, not to hold it in -- to talk to somebody about it, do what you've got to do to get through the steps of being okay."

Article Topic Follows: Bend

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Carly Keenan

Carly Keenan is a multimedia journalist and producer for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Carly here.


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