Thousands of people turned out in San Bernardino Thursday night for a candlelight vigil to honor the 14 victims of the mass shooting.
The smell of scented candles wafted through San Manuel Stadium as a roster of clergy and government officials took to the podium to encourage residents to stay strong amid the city’s struggles, which include bankruptcy.
“Though we are a bankrupt city, and now a terrorized city, we will not be beaten,” city attorney Gary Saenz said.
In the audience were the husband and three children of 46-year-old shooting victim Benneta Bet-Badal. The immigrant from Iran had worked as an inspector for the San Bernardino County Health Department, according to her husband Arlen Verdehyou.
“She came to have a better life, better education and everything else," Verdehyou said, as he was flanked by his children, ages 10, 12, and 15. “Unfortunately, it was taken away from her at an early age.”
Bet-Badal’s 15-year-old daughter, Jolene said she was staying strong because her mother had said she “never wanted anybody to be sad for her if she went.”
“She was the one I’d talk to, mostly about everything,” Jolen said. “She knew all my secrets. She’s my best friend, basically.”
Bet-Badal worked for the same department as suspected shooter Syed Rizwan Farook, but her husband said she was based in another office in Rancho Cucamonga.
From a dais on the ballfield, speakers took their turns saying prayers and condemning the suspected attackers.
"San Bernardino may be down, but we're not out," Pastor John Beckley said.
Watch Beckley addressing the crowd gathered at the vigil:
"When they attack one of us, they attack all of us," said San Bernardino Mayor Pro Tem Rikke Van Johnson.
Officials expressed thanks for the support San Bernardino has received from all over the country. San Bernadino’s mayor Carey Davis said he had received a call from President Obama,“offering whatever aid the White House could bring to bear to help our city to recover.”
The loudest applause was saved for first responders and San Bernardino police chief Jarrod Burguan.
The stadium went quiet as the lights were switched off, and the victims’ names were announced over the speakers.
A mosque describing itself as the largest in San Bernardino County was also set to hold a prayer vigil at the same time Thursday evening. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA released a press release ahead of the vigil in which the president of one of the mosque's chapters, Ahsan Khan, said, "We condemn this senseless and horrific act of violence in the strongest possible terms."
He added, "Our Community has been in San Bernardino County for nearly three decades, and yet have never seen such depravity. Our hearts go out to the innocent victims and their families. We stand in solidarity with them as their neighbors and brothers and sisters in peace."
The vigil was being held at Baitul Hameed Mosque in Chino.
Correction: An earlier version of this story mistakenly said that cousins Rama Alshreteh and Samar Natour were being photographed at a vigil at a mosque. KPCC regrets the error.
This story has been updated.