Sylvia Vandervelden says a prayer at this memorial site. While she's thinking about all the victims, one in particular, Navy Criptologist John Larimer gets a special prayer. "I just feel for all of these families and for everyone involved. I can't even express how sad I feel."
Vandervelden lives in Madera, but she's been visiting her daughter in Aurora for the past month. John Larimer was a friend and military colleague to her daughter and son-in-law. "It's affected them greatly. It's unfortunate that my son-in-law lost one of his working peers. He's been really quiet, has not really wanted to talk about it. My daughter was actually very upset last night and yesterday morning," said Vandervelden.
Petty Officer John Larimer was a sailor from Illinois. He was stationed at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora. The Navy says he was a Cryptologic Technician there. His commander Jeffrey Jakubowski said Larimer had a bright future ahead of him in the Navy. "I am deeply saddened by the loss of Petty Officer Larimer. He was an outstanding shipmate, valued member of our Navy team, and an extremely dedicated sailor. Sailors were really drawn to his calming demeanor and exceptional worth."
Back at the memorial site for the victims of Friday's shooting, the first in a row of white memorial crosses is in honor of Larimer.
As for Vandervelden -- while it's difficult for her emotionally to be at this memorial site, she's grateful to be in Colorado right now. "Actually I'm very happy and blessed to know that I was here for them when all of this happened. I would have been a nervous wreck if I had been back home in Madera."
Vandervelden says she'll be heading back home to the Valley in a week. And we're told John Larimer's family is working to get his remains sent back to Illinois for his memorial service.