Four members of Maine’s deaf community were killed during the Lewiston, Maine mass shooting that occurred on Oct. 25, 2023, according to the Associated Press.
The victims—Steve Vozzella, Brian MacFarlane, Billy Brackett, and Joshua Seal—were among the 18 people who were killed on Wednesday in Maine. Seal was a certified deaf interpreter and director of a nonprofit interpreting agency, reports the Washington Post.
“Maine’s Deaf Community is grieving deeply,” says Karen Hopkins, executive director of The Maine Educational Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. “We lost four of our cherished community members in last night’s Lewiston shootings, two of which were fathers of children in our educational programs. Our community is incredibly tight-knit, full of heart and pride. The fact that these men were together is who we are. Togetherness is what makes us strong and will hold us during this devastating time. The lives of those lost in the shooting will never be forgotten. We are holding their families, loved ones, and our community in our hearts.”
The Maine Educational Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing shared resources online for those dealing with trauma. Meanwhile, the Maine Association of the Deaf shared GoFundMe links for the victim’s families.
The victims were participating in a cornhole tournament for the deaf, which served as a gathering for members of a deaf and hard-of-hearing community, according to Maine Public.