Hundreds of people gathered Wednesday, May 27, in the Altru Hospital parking lot for a vigil in honor of the victims of a Grand Forks shooting earlier in the day that resulted in the death of a police officer and a civilian woman, and injury to a sheriff's deputy.

The candlelight and flashlight vigil was intended to show all Grand Forks law enforcement officers that the community fully supports them, said Lauralee Tupa, who organized the event.

Lexi Henning lights candles during a vigil in the Altru Hospital parking lot Wednesday evening after the death of a Grand Forks police officer.  Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
Lexi Henning lights candles during a vigil in the Altru Hospital parking lot Wednesday evening after the death of a Grand Forks police officer. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

"We appreciate everything that they do. We're here for them, and we hope they know how loved they are," Tupa said. "Grand Forks is a beautiful community. We're sorry to everyone who lost their lives."

The incident that led to the deaths started around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday when sheriff's deputies went to the apartment of Salamah Q. Pendleton, 41, to serve eviction papers. Gunfire erupted shortly thereafter, initiated by Pendleton, according to the Grand Forks Police Department.

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A GFPD officer who responded was killed and a sheriff's deputy also was hit. The deputy is in stable condition at Altru. A woman in the apartment died, and Pendleton also was injured and transported to Altru.

Paul Knight, a pastor at Hope Evangelical Covenant Church, led a prayer for all victims of the shooting, including those who he said he believed were wicked.

"They had families, too," he told the crowd.

Community members gather for a vigil in the Altru Hospital parking lot Wednesday evening after the death of a Grand Forks police officer.  Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
Community members gather for a vigil in the Altru Hospital parking lot Wednesday evening after the death of a Grand Forks police officer. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Candles and flashlights were lit at 9:30 p.m., and Knight's prayer was bookended by rounds of applause for the Altru workers. The prayer was briefly interrupted by an Altru administrator asking the hundreds of spectators, packed densely around the display of candles, to practice social distancing. Afterward, members of the crowd held up flashlights, and Grand Forks law enforcement officers led their own procession from the hospital.

Knight said that the event came together quickly. After Tupa decided she wanted to do something, she asked Knight to share it with his large base of followers, and word about the vigil spread across social media from there. Among the hundreds of attendees were several law enforcement cadets, Tupa said.

Hundreds gather in the parking lot of Altru Hospital Wednesday evening for a vigil and prayer after the death of a Grand Forks police officer.  Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
Hundreds gather in the parking lot of Altru Hospital Wednesday evening for a vigil and prayer after the death of a Grand Forks police officer. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald