Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

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March 13, 2014

Greensburg student organizes vigil for slain teens

Greensburg — In the wake of Tuesday’s accidental shooting death of a Greensburg teenager, one of the slain boy’s friends has set out to organize a public gathering to remember that young man as well as another local teen shot and killed late last month.

Christian Kriete, 15, a freshman at Greensburg Community High School, has planned a candlelight vigil from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Friday on the Decatur County Courthouse square.  The vigil is intended to honor Craig Roberts, 13, and Tyler Hall, 14, both of whom were students at Greensburg Junior High School.

Roberts was killed Tuesday when a sibling accidentally fired a weapon in the family’s home at 1031 North Carver Street. Hall was shot by his father in late February. The elder Hall then turned the gun on himself.

Christian Kriete knew both boys, but he was especially close to Craig Roberts.

The two young men grew up together and had been best friends since early in their elementary school days.

“We lived in the same neighborhood. We were together every single day,” Christian said of his friend. “We were inseparable every single day throughout several summers.”

Their mothers, Kim Kriete and Amy Roberts, respectively, are also friends.

Kriete described Craig Roberts as “a great person who loved helping other people.” He was also a young man of many talents.

“He was a great singer,” Kriete reflected. “Everyone knew him from the [school] musicals. He was in the musicals twice.”

Kriete said Craig had parts in junior high productions of Beauty and the Beast and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Christian helped out on the latter production with technical support in the light and sound department.

“He was a very outgoing, social person,” Christian told the Daily News Thursday. “He loved meeting new people. He was there for everybody. He was a great role model.”

Roberts was also an excellent student and was set to be inducted into the National Junior Honor Society Tuesday night.

Christian knew Tyler Hall as well and remembered him as “a kind young man.”

“I talked to Tyler – not on a daily basis, but I have spoken to him before,” Kriete said. “He tried to brighten others’ days with his smiles. He was an all-around good kid.”

Only a teenager himself, Christian has garnered support from family and friends in helping him put together a fitting tribute to two young lives lost in a little more than two weeks.

James Kriete, Christian’s older brother, is helping organize the vigil as is Diana Abbott, the mother of a friend of Christian’s.

“She [Abbott] told me that if I needed any help with the vigil to let her know,” Christian said. “She’s buying candles, giving moral support. She’s being a helping hand.”

The high school freshman has found additional support through Greensburg’s Walmart, the Community Church of Greensburg, St. Mary’s Catholic Church and Hennigsen’s Flowers.

In addition to that, an outpouring of compassion has accompanied the creation of a Facebook page dedicated to the event. By Daily News press time Thursday, the page had nearly 500 “likes” and several comments expressing sympathy and support. Via the page, some individuals from other communities have pledged to light candles in honor of the two young men from afar.

Many local residents have stated their plans to attend the vigil in support of the victims and their grieving friends and families.

The planned vigil will have a candle lighting ceremony at approximately 8 p.m. Friday. The rest of the program, Christian said, will be an opportunity for friends and family of Craig Roberts and Tyler Hall to share thoughts and memories.

The goal is to find a measure of peace in two deaths that have left many in the community searching for answers.

“When we all come together, I hope we can find some closure in the death of the two boys,” Christian said.

The event organizer said planning a community event such as the candlelight vigil is something Craig Roberts might have done in order to help others in need.

“I wish that I didn’t have to do this, but I’m glad that I’m doing it,” Christian said.

“And I know that as I was buying the things for this operation all I had in mind was that Craig would be right behind me, helping me every step of the way. He was a great person who loved helping other people.”

Contact: Brent Brown 812-663-3111 x7056; brent.brown@greensburgdailynews.com

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