About three-and-a-half thousand people mourned the death of a Pennsylvania middle-school teacher in Edinboro on Tuesday.
Student, colleagues and family members paid tribute to John Gillette, who was shot and killed at an eighth grade graduation dance last Friday.
A fourteen-year-old student is in jail on homicide charges.
The school gymnasium was crowded with mourners.
They had come to honour John Gillette, a 48-year-old science teacher and former football hero who had been involved in numerous volunteer, church and business projects.
Students and fellow teachers stood side by side as the Catholic mass got under way.
Family members sat in the front row.
Gillette’s coffin, draped with a white flag, was placed in the centre of the gymnasium as the Reverend John Jacquel, a priest at Gillette’s church, addressed the mourners.
“So why didn’t God do something to prevent this man from dying? Why did God let that happen to his own beloved son? It seems that, you know, faithfulness to God doesn’t guarantee safety or a trouble free life.”
SUPER CAPTION: The Reverend John Jacquel, Our Lady of the Lake church
There have been three other school-related shootings since October in the United States.
In Jonesboro, Arkansas; West Paducah, Kentucky; and Pearl, Mississippi a total of 10 people were killed and 22 wounded in seemingly pointless attacks.
“What has happened here in Edinboro is a repeat of similar tragedies that have occurred much too often in recent months in other cities. Lord, we ask your blessing on all the victims of these senseless acts of violence.”
SUPER CAPTION: Unidentified man addressing mourners
Mitchell Wright, the widower of a teacher killed in Jonesboro, called Gillette’s widow over the weekend with support and advice.
Gillette’s killing has shocked Edinboro, a northwestern Pennsylvania municipality of five-thousand.
The teacher was to be buried along with two baseball hats and a football jersey later on Tuesday.
Andrew Wurst, a bespectacled, aloof student who liked dark-themed music and whose nickname was “Satan”, has been accused of homicide and is being held in custody.
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