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Grand Rapids works on healing one week after deadly shootings

At least 80 people filled the pews of a church only a few blocks away from where 34-year-old Rodrick Dantzler reportedly killed three people.

Four others were found dead at a house about 2 miles away. 2 of the 7 killed were children. Dantzler lead police on a chase and took hostages before killing himself one week ago Thursday.

Rosie, who wished not to use her last name, lives on the same block where one of the shootings happened.

“I walk my dog early in the morning and it’s so peaceful here. I see that house and still doesn’t seem real.”

Rosie and several others say the experience is making them a closer-knit community.

Edye Hyde’s strong voice carries “Who will comfort me?” and "Imagine" through the church at the beginning of the cermeony. I spot Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell listening intently, waiting for his introduction to the podium. Once on stage, he shares this intimate moment.

“For the first time I started to cry," Heartwell nearly sobbed, "Cause you see I’ve had my strong mayor face on since last Thursday.”

Heartwell said he's tried to be a brave face for the community, but is still dealing with the grief it has caused. He encouraged everyone to reach out to one another and be 'ok' with the grief and shock, maybe get help. About a dozen others also got the chance to reflect their experiences to the group.

“I feel…this is going to sound strange,” Heartwell said, “but I already feel better just telling you.”

Details of the shooter’s motives are still unclear, but there are a lot of speculations. Police are still investigating the case. Funerals for the seven victims, including the shooter’s wife and daughter began earlier this week. Services for Dantzler are this Thursday and Friday.

Lindsey Smith helps lead the station'sAmplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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