Anger and sorrow on the eve of services for slain Yarmouth police Officer Sean Gannon.
SOUTH YARMOUTH — Two days after a candelight vigil for slain Yarmouth police Officer Sean Gannon drew hundreds of supporters, the grief-stricken community came together again to lean on one another.
The Monday night vigil, originally scheduled to take place on Smugglers Beach, was diverted indoors to the Yarmouth Moose Family Center, where more than 100 community members turned out to escape the whipping winds and rain, seeking consolation in the wake of the shooting Thursday in Marstons Mills that claimed the life of the young K-9 officer.
Anger and sorrow could be felt throughout the lodge and was present in the speakers' voices, but the mood was subdued with another day’s passing.
The community members, still raw with the loss of Gannon, listened as its leaders spoke of the need to stay hopeful and to listen to one another.
“Any opportunity to come together is desperately important right now,” said Cat Wilson, a Cape and Islands radio personality who spoke to the gathering. “This has been an incredibly difficult time for all of us.”
Following the Pledge of Allegiance, residents listened to musical performances from local sisters Izzy and Angelina Marino.
The duo sang "The Star-Spangled Banner," then Izzy Marino closed with "Amazing Grace."
Since Gannon’s death, an online petition, “Justice for Officer Gannon and Officer Nero,” has garnered more than 25,000 signatures. Wilson spoke about the need to support police officers.
“Listen to our law enforcement officers when they say our court systems are choked to the point where they can’t work effectively," she said. "Listen to our law officers when they say their budgets have been cut at the knees, making them struggle to continue to protect us.”
The vigil was held a day before the community will again come together for a wake at St. Pius X Church in South Yarmouth, followed by the funeral Wednesday.
The gathering also came in after news that Nero, Gannon’s police dog who was shot in the head and neck in the same incident, appeared to be on the road to recovery.
Medical staff at Cape Cod Veterinary Specialists in Buzzards Bay and K-9 officers keeping vigil over Nero have shared photos of the wounded dog, who is shown alert, but with medical wires attached to his limbs. The 28-month-old Belgian Malinois is eating a little on his own now and walking, according to social media posts.
Yarmouth Police Chief Frank Frederickson, after delivering an impassioned speech about the need to better fund police departments, stored away his anger, saying he has to triage the police department to "see what's left."
"I'm putting that aside right now because I've got to get through the next few days," he said. “We have a family that is devastated, we have a police department that is a train wreck right now, we have surrounding members of the law enforcement community that are equally as devastated. But my job as chief of the department is to also help this community heal.”
“We will be better for all of this,” he continued. “We just can’t feel it and see it right now.”
— Follow Tanner Stening on Twitter: @tsteningCCT.