Shooting victims remembered during Aztec luminarias event

Ceremony took place during inaugural River Glo

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
Members of First Baptist Aztec serve hot chocolate Friday during the River Glo event in Riverside Park in Aztec.

AZTEC — A ceremony at the end of a luminaria event in Aztec provided the community a chance to come together and remember the one-year marker of the Aztec High School shooting on Friday.

Aztec's first River Glo, organized by First Baptist Aztec, included a 1.2-mile walk that connected Riverside Park with Aztec Ruins National Monument, which was celebrating its Evening of Light at the same time.

Fritz Polk, a chaplain for the San Juan County Sheriff's Office who also taught both the students killed in the shooting, spoke during the service.

A luminaria glows Friday in Riverside Park in Aztec during River Glo.

Polk described the shooting as a tsunami of evil that slammed against Aztec's shores and claimed the lives of three young people — Casey Jordan Marquez, Francisco Fernandez and the shooter.

He said the question so many people asked immediately after the shooting was why it happened.

“There is no answer to why,” Polk said.

He said the question is how to move forward and heal, which is a question the community is still asking itself a year later.

San Juan County Sheriff's Office chaplain Fritz Polk holds a yearbook Friday showing last year's junior class at Aztec High School. One of the students pictured was killed during the 2017 shooting at the school.

After the ceremony, Polk said the students have come a long way, facing uncertainty and fear with strength.

“They're going to move on in strength,” he said.