APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - Many people are expressing grief in response to Wednesday's shooting that took the life of an Appleton firefighter.
Prayer vigil at The Core for firefighter Mitchell Lundgaard and others affected by the Appleton shooting (WBAY photo)
Some of that grief came out during a vigil Thursday night for the victims of the shooting.
More than 150 people came out for the prayer vigil at The Core in downtown Appleton. The church is just a couple blocks away from where the shooting took place (Click here for related story).
As a way to lean on each other for support, people from across the Appleton area came together to pray, reflect and mourn the loss of firefighter, husband, father Mitchell Lundgaard.
"This is a place where we are supposed to be. We're supposed to come together as family," Nancy Lamers of Appleton expressed "And it's a tragedy, but that's why we have to come together and come to this vigil. We're on each other's side. We should not be shooting each other."
The vigil lasted about 30 minutes, featuring speakers, a moment of prayer and several songs. It was organized by Pastor Mike Novotny, who was among the people downtown Wednesday night who heard the gunshots.
"So many of us just read these stories again and again, and now here's it happening in our own backyard. So I think just being real, and not shying away from those questions as people, but knowing that God can handle questions like that, and hopefully give a lot of hope and peace in the process," Novotny said.
Gabby Chavez from Appleton brought her two boys, all of them holding American flags.
"We came here today, and tonight I want them to know what a real hero is, the Spider-Man and Iron Man, and I just want them to know this man was a real hero," Chavez said.
Appleton Fire Chief Jeremy Hansen started a GoFundMe page for Lundgaard's wife and 3 children, with the family's permission. At the time of this writing, it's already raised more than $72,000.
Donations can also be mailed to or made in person at:
Friends of the Appleton Fire Department
700 N. Drew St.
Appleton, WI 54911
A visitation for Lundgaard will be held Monday, May 20 at Appleton Alliance Church, 2693 Grand Chute Blvd. Hours are 3 p.m. - 6 p.m.