BROOKSVILLE — Children carried glow sticks and balloons to a Friday night vigil at Chocachatti Elementary School to remember Susanna Castrillon, 8, and Sabastian Castrillon, 7.
“As a community we pulled together,” said Chocachatti Principal Lara Silva. “And I’m incredibly proud of my staff and my teachers for ... handling such a difficult time.”
About 200 students, parents and community members attended the vigil, lighting candles, spending time together and sharing memories.
An event organizer said the children’s mother, Luz Jimenez, didn’t want anyone to cry, and that, “her babies are happy flying in heaven.”
“It’s just tragic,” said Ed Delfel, who attended the vigil with his daughter, Shawna, a fourth-grade student at Chocachatti. “How someone could take their own child is beyond cowardly.”
The second and third graders were killed by their father last weekend as they slept in their 975 Nodding Shade Drive home, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.
Their father, Daniel Castrillon-Oreggo, 39, then shot himself in the head. He and the children’s mother were divorcing.
Grief counselors were at the school last week to support teachers and students, said school district spokesman Roy Gordon, and will remain as long as they are needed.
Matt Reinig contributed to this report.