'Why would you take her?' : Students, community comfort each other after teacher's death
COLUMBIA, Md. (WBFF) - A gathering of hope was scheduled tonight at the Wilde Lake Interfaith Center in Columbia for Laura Wallen.
But just before it was about to begin, they received the devastating news.
FOX45's Shelley Orman reported on the community's reaction to the heartbreaking news of Wallen's death.
Students and fellow staff members had organized what they were calling a gathering of hope right across from the high school.
As news of her death broke at 6:30 p.m., dozens of people showed up anyway, some not knowing of the news until they arrived.
Many chose to stay to comfort one another, hugging, crying.
"We all asked ourselves in the circle why?Like why? What motivated you? Why? Why would you take her?" said Saquan Maxwell, one of Wallen's former students. "How could you be possessed with so much hate, to take a soul that means so much to people?"
"It hurts and I feel bad for my fellow Wildcats that have to go back in school and see her classroom every day. The classroom is covered with notes. I wish you guys could feel the love. She's here. She sees this going on. She knows what's going on and we love her. The love wil never stop being there for Ms Wallen."
"She is the reason we all graduated, I can say that for everybody here. She influenced us to be better in life, not just in school, but in life," said Hamad Wasti, another one of her former students.
"She is an amazing person. She truly is one of those special teachers that touches children here before she touches them up here," said Rick Wilson, Wilde Lake's principal pointing to his heart then his head. "I think that speaks volumes about her as a person as much as it does as a teacher. She led with her heart."
Everyone had been hoping, praying, for Wallen's safe return. The news of her death was devastating.