HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) -- Their loved one was ripped away from them in the deadliest case of workplace violence ever in our state. Wednesday night the grieving family got some help in the healing process from a local business.
For a couple hours the family of Vic James could forget about the tragic way his life was taken and remember him as the loving family man who enjoyed taking his family to Lake Compounce.
"It's very overwhelming, very emotional, and it's good to have my whole family here," said Jay Mikalonis, son-in-law, "and to have a good time after everything we have been through, it's a good time."
It's been nearly two years since police say Omar Thornton walked into Hartford Distributors killing eight people. One of the people killed in the attack was Vic James, a father and grandfather who always took his family to Lake Compounce .
So Wednesday night, the park opened their gates in an effort to help them heal.
"Everything we went through and everything they did for me, just to see the smiles on their faces is worth it," said Mikalonis.
There were no lines Wednesday. The park was actually closed. The family got to point at a ride and the staff would turn it on for them to ride. The idea was to create an ultimate day for the family to remember a father, a grandfather, whose life was cut short.
"Vic just loves coming here and he loved the kids, and he was a kid and he would stay in the water park all day," said Anthony Napolitano, son-in-law. "We would have to go get him and bring him out of there, 'come on, come on.' And he would always get here when the park opened and when he was just with the kids we would have to text him 'when are you coming back.'"
As they raced through the park on roller coasters the family felt close to their grandfather. It's not a place to forget, but to remember a grandfather who always knew how to have fun.
"It was a rough couple of years and tonight they get to forget about that and have fun," Napolitano said, "and it's just really special."
Route 63 is closed in Bethany because of a one-vehicle accident.
Recordings released Wednesday of 911 calls from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting show town dispatchers urged panicked callers to take cover, mobilized help and asked about the welfare of the children as the boom of gunfire could …
Here are links to the audio from the Sandy Hook school shootings in Newtown, Dec. 14, 2012.
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