Community gathers at Hunter High with donations for families of shooting victims

Jan 21, 2022, 11:59 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 4:24 pm

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — Dozens turned out Friday night to support the families of the two teens that were shot and killed near Hunter High School last week.

The temperatures may have been chilly, but it didn’t seem to matter for the people who showed up to provide some much-needed warmth.

“Some food items, some waters, some money,” Nive Schwenke Tokotaha said. “So we can distribute it to both of the families.”

Not nearly enough time had passed to find any comfort on their own.

“Young ones’ lives have been taken,” Tokotaha said.

Two teens — 14-year-old Tivani Lopati and 15-year-old Paul Tahi — were killed in a shooting near Hunter High School on Thursday, Jan. 13.

A third person, 15-year-old Ephraim Asiata, was also hit, but he managed to survive.

“It really does affect the school, the parents, the students,” Tokotaha said. “It’s just too close to home.”

The shooting resonated with everyone in the community.

“I know the family of these boys,” Tokotaha said. “Just watching my nephew go through the motions, and he wants to do something for his brotherhood, he said.”

So, the plan Friday night was to do something, anything to honor the two boys.

“I had a lot of love for both of them. Great guys,” Jayden Anderson said. “It’s heartbreaking.”

“It’s hurt us, but, you know, we’re a very strong community with them,” Savannah Amosa said.

By showing their support, those here hope the two grieving families feel loved when they need it most.

“It really touches me,” Tokotaha said. “I have kids. As a mother, this is close to home. Very close to home.”

Again, organizers planned to take the donations of food, water and money to the homes of the families involved. They hope it’ll make at least some difference for them to see the support from the community.

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Community gathers at Hunter High with donations for families of shooting victims