Memorial held for victims of Skagit Co. shootings

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by By ROB PIERCY ELISA HAHN / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on September 2, 2009 at 10:09 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 29 at 10:59 AM

Video: Memorial held for victims of Skagit Co. shooting rampage

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. - In the town of Alger, members of the community gathered Wednesday night to mark the one year anniversary of the shooting rampage in Skagit County.

Six people were killed, four others injured in the worst mass killing in the county's history.

One by one, Pastor Rich DeRuiter called out the victims' names as family members ran the church bell.

"365 days I've cried," says Tonya Fenton, Julie Binschus' daughter. Julie was shot and killed, her husband Fred was also shot but survived. "It hasn't gotten easier. It feels like two weeks has gone by. And I just miss my mom I love her and can't wait to see her again someday."

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"It's amazing how fresh it seems. It seems like it just happened this week," said Debbie Winblad. Her son Greg Gillum was one of the contractors who was shot and killed in the shooting spree.

Gillum's stepfather of says some things changed for him in the last year: "I probably have more forgiveness in my heart, more tolerance for people who are mentally ill."

The pain is still very real. Jennifer Holloman says she feels it every day.

"The community has lost a lot of its trust, it's such a small community, a close-knit community," said Holloman. "Everybody knows somebody that's affected by this."

One year ago today, Holloman lost a dear friend, Skagit County Sheriff's Deputy Anne Jackson.

Jackson was the first of six people allegedly gunned down by Isaac Zamora in a shooting rampage in Alger. The other victims include Julie Binschus, Chet Rose, Leroy Lange, David Radcliff and Greg Gillium.

On the one-year anniversary of the shooting rampage, the small community of Alger held a candlelight vigil. Earlier Skagit County sheriff's officers unveiled a granite memorial that honors Deputy Anne Jackson and Deputy Alan Hultgren.

On Aug. 7, 1981, Hultgren was in his patrol car near Marblemount, when a drunk driver crashed into the car head on, killing Hultgren.

"It was their duty to serve and it's our duty to remember," said Sheriff Rick Grimstad.

Hultgren's wife attended Wednesday's memorial. She said the shooting rampage last year brought back painful memories.

"It's a long time ago but it seems like yesterday," said Hultgren. "It doesn't ever go away."

For Hultgren, today's memorial was especially poignant. For 30 years, Julie Binschus was one of her close friends.

"She was the first person I met when I moved into Skagit County 30 years ago," said Hultgren.

A judge has ruled that Isaac Zamora is mentally competent to stand trial in the Sept. 2, 2008, shooting spree that began in Alger. Zamora has entered not guilty pleas to 20 felony counts, including six aggravated murder charges. Prosecutors say the earliest a trial would happen is late January.

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