LOGAN – More than 150 members of the Utah State University and Cache Valley communities gathered for a candlelight vigil Tuesday night in front of the apartment where Mackenzie Madden and Johnathon Sadler lost their lives in the Monday morning shooting. Candles were lit, a moment of silence was held, a prayer was offered and many struggling with the tragedy comforted and consoled each other with hugs and words of sympathy and encouragement.
The shooting took place around 12:16 a.m. when Jared Tolman entered Madden’s apartment and shot both Madden and Sadler multiple times. Tolman was found dead about 30 minutes later across town from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
“On behalf of Utah State University, the student body, we send our love, our thoughts and our prayers and deep condolences to the families and those who have been affected by this tragedy,” said USU student body president Douglas Fiefia as he addressed the crowd. “Tonight we light these candles, and as we light these candles we ask that you keep those who’ve fallen in your thoughts and in your prayers and ask that you continue to tell those that you love that you love them.”
Some in attendance wrote messages on small heart-shaped pieces of paper and placed them in the yard in front of the apartment building. One message had the words, “You will never be forgotten,” and another read, “You will always be loved.” One simply read, “Kenzie.”
The parents of Johnathon Sadler each addressed the crowd. Each spoke of their love for their son and encouraged everyone to show others kindness and respect.
“I love him dearly,” said Johnathon’s father Todd Sadler. “I miss him dearly. I don’t know why it happened. I don’t understand it but I know that God does and I know that one day I will be able to see the big picture. I believe God is in charge and nothing happens that he doesn’t know about. My faith tells me that I will be able to see my son again one day and I look forward to that day.”
“I still don’t know why it happened and I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around it,” said Johnathon’s mother Sue Sadler. “But I know my son is in a better place. And I don’t hold any grudges towards the shooter that took his life and Mackenzie.”
Todd Sadler said he never knew Madden or Tolman, but encouraged everyone to pray for all the families involved.
“I didn’t know the young man, but if you would all pray for all victims involved. All families involved,” he said. “We don’t understand sometimes why people do the things they do. I pray that we can forgive him and we can live our lives in a better way and love each other.”