Outpouring Of Prayers, Sympathy Following Shocking Crime: ELB Neighbors -- Aided by Local Lowe's Employee -- Build Heartfelt Shrine on Woodruff, Stream of Visitors Appears
(April 23, 2005) -- Handmade, heartfelt, homemade...and filled with flowers, candles, prayers and touching offerings, a grassroots shrine has risen on Woodruff Ave. south of Spring St. where on April 21 a man tried to shoot and kill his ex-wife before shooting their four year old son to death.
We saw a near-constant stream of visitors to the shrine at midafternoon on April 23.
It's on the west side of Woodruff Ave., south of Spring St. just south of the flood control channel.
Attending to the shrine was Julie Danks (seen here, speaking with a visitor).
Ms. Danks credited her daughter, Erin, with turning the outpouring of community sympathy into something special. "We were devastated by what happened," Julie told us.
The mother-daughter team put created a message book where people could leave messages for the surviving family. Many have.
"With so many people bringing so flowers and candles, we wanted to put up some kind of canopy to protect things from the elements," she said. They searched multiple stores without success before trying the neighborhood Lowe's (Bellflower @ Spring).
"We told the Assistant Manager -- Mike was his name -- what we wanted and he found it. And when we told him why we wanted it, he gave it to us," Ms. Danks said.
We telephoned Lowe's Assistant Manager Mike Ozeretny...who seemed surprised by our call. While juggling hardware, house and garden goods and Saturday growds, he said yes, he had provided the canopy. "Our store is part of the community," he said.
At the shrine, visitors wrote messages for the family and left items ranging from prayers and candles to teddy bears and balloons. While we were present, a neighbor left a very touching card. Others brought sealed envelopes.
Last night, a neighbor ran an extension cord from her house to keep the area lit. Pointing to a photo of four year-old Joshua taped to the wall, Ms. Danks said, "We didn't want little Joshua in the dark."
We stopped by in the evening (April 23) and the shrine was again illuminated...by both electricity and candles.
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