For families of victims, city, some needed closure

The healing process in Granite Falls gained some major momentum Tuesday when the man suspected of killing Kara Monson and Christopher Panitzke was taken into custody.

Days after the shooting on Sept. 2, Granite Falls Mayor Dave Smiglewski said an uneasy feeling and a sense of sadness had settled over the town.

Today, we’d like to think that, at the least, that uneasy feeling has subsided.

“It’s been kind of a collective sigh of relief,” Smiglewski said Wednesday. “That, mixed with a little bit of bewilderment. I think people just felt a lot of relief knowing the chief suspect has been apprehended. There’s still the justice system to go through and that may bring some pain to everybody again, but on the other hand, having that closure and knowing what happened will be helpful for people here and the families.”

But, of course, the mourning continues, and the sadness will linger over the tragic deaths of two young people for some time.

Residents of Granite Falls have had to clean up, pick themselves up and move on after a tornado and after floods – the rebuilding of homes, some cosmetic work within the city, the relocation of businesses and flood mitigation were part of a process that combined to make the city whole again. But when a violent crime is committed and lives are stolen in the middle of the night, the soul of a community is shaken, and that’s a feeling that can’t be mitigated, especially in a small town.

Emotional recovery takes time, but knowing the suspect who had been on the run for more than two weeks is no longer a potential danger to the public goes a long way in that process.

For the families of the victims, some very important closure has been achieved, but there still is plenty of rough road ahead for them, and healing is a one-day-at-a-time proposition.

They need our thoughts and prayers.

There are still questions to be answered, and rumors and speculation are still surely making the rounds as they have for the two weeks since the shooting, but now, with Tuesday’s significant development in the case, residents can keep moving on, slowly but surely.