Cañon City family to hold vigil for Nashville school shooting victim
CAÑON CITY, Colo (KXRM) — Three weeks after the Nashville school shooting, one Cañon City family is ready to grieve for their niece with their Colorado community.
The family that owns the Little Canyon Inn, a motel in Cañon City, is grieving the death of 9-year-old Hallie Scruggs who was killed in the Nashville school shooting. The community will be holding a vigil on Friday, April 21, for Hallie and the family, who came back from Nashville this past week.
The Arnold family currently lives in Cañon City running the motel with their four sons, Jack (16), Finn (13), Chip (9), and Lucky (5). But until recently, they lived in their hometown of Nashville and frequently meet with their cousins, the Scruggs family.
Hallie was the only girl among seven other boy cousins, but they said she held her own.
“My brothers and them would wrestle a bunch. She would always jump right in. She had a lot of energy pretty much all the time,” said 16-year-old Jack Arnold, who is the oldest of the cousins.
The Arnold family said Hallie was adventurous and was always playing games with her cousins. The two youngest Arnold boys, 9-year-old Chip, and 5-year-old Lucky said their favorite memory with Hallie is a game they called “Lucky Monster.”
“It’s a game that me, Chip, and Hallie loved to play. It’s basically like tag except I always have to be ‘it’ first,'” explained Lucky with a smile.
Chip and Hallie were attached at the hip. His mom, Kara Arnold, recalled how they would be out playing for hours at a time.
“They were always off getting into trouble. Hallie was, I think, Chip’s favorite person in the whole world,” said Kara.
Chip was born just three days apart from Hallie, who he said was his best friend.
“Hallie would go somewhere and then Chip would follow, and Chippy was perfectly happy with that because he had someone to talk to and someone to play with,” said Jack.
On March 27, Kara and Adam Arnold had to tell their four sons what had happened to their beloved cousin.
“That was the hardest part,” Kara said, sobbing. “There’s so much disbelief…losing a cousin, but not in like a weird accident or something like that, but like to this sort of thing.”
The children are now trying to make sense of how something like this could happen.
“I was angry at the world. I was angry at everything,” said Jack.
“Hallie was just, she was the best. I mean it doesn’t make sense at all,” said Finn.
While the family was home in Nashville for Hallie’s memorial, they went over to her house every day. Many times Kara would look over to her son Chip, who would usually be playing with Hallie, and saw him sitting alone.
“One morning, we were about to go back over there [the Scruggs’ house] after we’d been over there for several days and he just said, ‘No, I’m not going.’ He was like, it’s bad enough that Hallie’s gone. I don’t want to go to Hallie’s house without Hallie there,” Kara said this was the first time Chip had expressed anything about it since it had happened.
In Nashville, the whole city was mourning with them. Kara said they were nervous about feeling alone in their grief coming back to Cañon City where no one knew Hallie.
“But our community has not let that happen,” said Kara.
Even though the Arnolds are new members of the community, Cañon City has shown up for them.
“These children have seen such an outpouring of kindness and love and caring as a result of this,” said dad, Adam Arnold.
The community is holding a candlelit vigil for Hallie on Friday night, April 21, from 6:30 p.m.- 8:00 p.m. at the Macon Plaza, on the corner of 5th Avenue and Macon Avenue, where anyone is welcome to join. Kara said that whether you have a sign in your yard or you show up to the vigil, any show of support goes a long way.
“I know a yard sign doesn’t mean anything, it doesn’t change anything, but it feels like they know what we’re going through. They see us and they’re going through it with us,” said Kara.
Signs are available to purchase at this website.
Neighbors have also set up a GoFundMe that has raised over $1,000 so far. All the funds will go directly to Kara and Adam Arnold.
The Arnold family is now just holding on to the memories they have.
“It’ll probably always feel like Hallie’s here like she’s just in the background, she and Chip are just off getting into trouble. She’ll be nine forever, you just have to remember her kind of frozen-in-time,” said Kara.
Chip still wishes he could have said one last thing to his best friend.
“I honestly just wish I could have told her goodbye,” Chip said with tears welling in his eyes.