Family Members, Co-Workers Mourn Victims of Finance Office Massacre With AM-Office Massacre
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) _ Eight people slain at random by a heavily armed gunman in an auto finance office were mourned by family members and co-workers at a memorial service Saturday.
″We want to remember them, not what occurred to them,″ said the Rev. Paul Estes, pastor of Beulah Baptist Church in Keystone Heights.
″As survivors, we will never forget them. We’ll never get over it, but we will survive,″ said Estes, whose church was attended by one of the victims, Julia White Burgess.
Mrs. Burgess, 42, went to the General Motors Acceptance Corp. office to make her son’s car payment. She was the lone customer killed by James Edward Pough in the rampage Monday.
Pough, armed with a .30-caliber semiautomatic rifle and a .38-caliber pistol, opened fire without warning at the office of the company that had repossessed his car.
He walked close to employees cowering under their desks and shot them point-blank before killing himself.
Killed were Mrs. Burgess, Janice David, Sharon Louise Hall, Denise Sapp Highfill, Barbara Duckworth Holland, Cynthia Perry, Lee Simonton and Drew Woods. Five people wounded by gunfire remained hospitalized Saturday.
″The difficult days are still ahead, but you are going to survive the first birthday, the first anniversary, the first Christmas, the first Easter without them. You don’t think you will, but you will,″ said Estes, who told the mourners that his daughter was a murder victim several years ago.
The Rev. Dennis Bratton of Mandarin Christian Church, where Mrs. Highfill, 36, attended services, told the 300 mourners gathered at the company-sponsored service: ″We don’t have to be victimized by this tragedy.″
He said they weren’t alone in their grief.
″The arms of this great city have tried to embrace you,″ he said. ″My how we hurt for you.″
GMAC president William J. Lovejoy said he was deeply saddened although he did not know any of the victims personally.
″We have a great sense of family. We form strong bonds,″ Lovejoy said, his voice choked with emotion. ″When one of us hurts, we all hurt.″
Lovejoy read a poem he said was found taped to the computer terminal used by Ms. Holland, 45, entitled ″Don’t Quit.″ The poem talked about the value of perseverance.
″I think Barbara Holland would appreciate it if we all took those words to heart,″ he said.