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Highland Park community comes together in the face of adversity

​"There's so many wonderful people here, I'm not surprised."
Posted at 6:01 PM, Jul 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-11 09:27:01-04

HIGHLAND PARK, Illinois — It's been four days since tragedy unfolded in Highland Park, Illinois when a man opened fire on the July 4th parade.

Just feet away from where the tragedy unfolded Monday is a makeshift memorial with flowers and notes left behind by the community.

The community said being there for one another is crucial, from comforting hugs to a Facebook page filled with people offering services to help in anyway they can.

It's still a very eerie feeling being in Highland Park, but for Veronica Shakhnis looking out her downtown balcony brings her back to Monday afternoon.

WATCH: Shakhnis recalls hearing shooting and thinking it was fireworks part of the event.

Highland Park shooter's neighbor speaks on parade shooting

She quickly learned something was wrong when people started running.

"It was really scary," she said.

But things were only about to get more frightening.

"We were surrounded by a lot of police," Shakhnis said.

Shaknis is the suspect's mother's neighbor and even remembers seeing Robert Crimo walking in the area once before.

"He did look unhappy, deeply unhappy," Shakhnis said. "It was disturbing to see this guy."

Since Monday she said her anxiety crept in and she turned to her wellness practice, and it helped her.

She's offering group sessions for anyone in need at Wellness Club Physical Therapy.

"Acupuncture is really known to work well with the nervous system," she said.

Just 10 minutes up the road, Julie Gorden was working on another plan to help.

"It's hard to know what to do in times like this," Gorden said.

She didn't have to look for an idea.

"Dogs are just the most amazing happy little beings," Gorden smiled.

Gorden founded Canine Comfy, a business where she makes clothing to comfort animals, now those animals will help people suffering.

"They'd be perfect distractions, and they would give cuddles and smiles," she said.

Whether its acupuncture or pet therapy, the Highland Park community is finding strength through the dark times.

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