Vigil for slain Superior resident challenges gun violenceA few dozen people attended a prayer vigil Sunday afternoon in Superior at the site of a fatal shooting to pay their respects to the victim, Toriano Dawen “Snap” Cooper, and to draw attention to the issue of gun crime.
By: Peter Passi, Duluth News Tribune
A few dozen people attended a prayer vigil Sunday afternoon in Superior at the site of a fatal shooting to pay their respects to the victim, Toriano Dawen “Snap” Cooper, and to draw attention to the issue of gun crime.
Cooper, 35, died Jan. 15 after he was shot twice outside a home at 1901 N. 12th St. Superior Police are still searching for the gunman.
“We can’t let gun violence go unchallenged,” said the Rev. Patrick Ziems of Zion Lutheran Church.
“I never want to stop being hopeful, but Wisconsin just passed a conceal-and-carry law that will put thousands more guns on the street,” said Ziems of his mounting concerns.
Kristina Lampi, who was Cooper’s fiancee, expressed her appreciation for the vigil and set up a sidewalk shrine, complete with candles and photos of her late love.
“It means a lot to me,” she said of Sunday’s gathering. “It shows how strong one community can be.”
While it’s not easy to talk about gun violence, the Rev. Joel Huenneman of Superior’s United Presbyterian Church said his community cannot afford to remain silent on the issue.
“When something like this happens, it affects all of us,” he said.
After several prayers, balloons were distributed to vigil participants, who released them in unison, with Lampi saying: “We love you, Toriano.”
Lampi said she has been overwhelmed by the response of her community to Cooper’s death.
“He touched so many hearts,” she said. “He was an amazing man whose life was tragically taken from us.”
Huenneman encouraged people at the vigil to consider contributing to a family fund set up to cover funeral costs and the expense of transporting Cooper’s body home to family in Indiana. He said a fund had been established at Superior’s Wells Fargo Bank in the name of his brother, Antron Cooper.
Sunday’s vigil was organized by a group of clergy members of mixed denominations in the Superior area. Calling itself the Superior Area Ministerium, the group first formed in August 2010 to raise awareness of gun violence in the wake of Matthew Magdzas killing his pregnant wife, daughter and three dogs before turning a gun on himself.