Memorials honor victims of Bunn-O-Matic shooting

Memorials honor victims of Bunn-O-Matic shooting

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People are taken from building C1 and loaded onto a SMTD bus as law enforcement clear the building during an active shooter situation at the Bunn-O-Matic warehouse on Stevenson Drive, Friday, June 26, 2020, in Springfield, Ill. Police say officers are searching for a gunman at a warehouse in the Illinois state capital after at least one person was shot and wounded. (Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register via AP)

Memorials honoring the victims of Friday's shooting at Bunn-O-Matic Corp. have sprung up at the Stevenson Drive facility.

Flowers, balloons, a bird feeder and a cross bearing the first names of the victims Marsha Strumpher, 54, Christopher Aumiller, 25, and William "Bill" Gibbons, 61, all of Springfield began appearing off the entrance to the warehouse and shipping operations Sunday afternoon.

On fencing surrounding the facility, there were poster boards with photos of all three, with the words "Rest peacefully." A single rose and an American flag was placed at each one.

Bunn-O-Matic, which manufactures beverage dispensary equipment, was closed Monday. There was a workers only meeting at the facility and the company was making grief counselors available to workers.

There will be candlelight vigil for the victims at Centennial Park (at the picnic tables by the playground) in Springfield at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Social distancing protocols will be followed.

Springfield Police Deputy Chief Joshua Stuenkel said Monday that there was no official update on the investigation.

Nathan Cooper, 23, of Pawnee stopped by the memorial Monday morning after dropping his girlfriend off at work.

Cooper was two years younger than Aumiller, but they knew each other through school and the youth group at Pawnee Christian Church.

"You never expect it to be your friend's face on one of these memorials," said Cooper, tears welling in his eyes.

Pete Lussier of Springfield said Strumpher "was one of the first people to be nice to me when I started at Bunn four years ago," after moving here from Connecticut. Lussier, who works in the fabrication department and saw Strumpher just about every day, said in a Facebook message that the two shared the same political views and "we had similar (feelings) on how the country is right now."

Jonah Kadyk of Sherman visited the memorial and knelt in prayer before Monday's meeting. Kadyk, who works in te engineering department at Bunn, said he didn't know any of the three victims, "but I consider (every worker here) family."

Cooper said when he last talked to Aumiller about three months ago, "he was talking about his job and a few of the other people from Pawnee who worked (at Bunn), too. He brought them up. I think he was happy with his life, which is nice.

"He said we should get together again and I should have followed through on it. I stayed in touch with him, but not as much as I should have."

Cooper recalled when he was growing up and he would get into arguments with parents Aumiller was always ready to lend a helping hand.

"He said no matter what happened, if I need a place (to go to) at a moment's notice, I could just go to his place," Cooper said. "He would have dinner ready. We would play Xbox, that kind of thing. He was the type of person who would do stuff like that."

The shooting at Bunn was first reported at 11:03 a.m. Friday, according to law enforcement officials.

The gunman, Michael L. Collins Jr., 48, of Springfield, also a Bunn employee, was found dead inside his vehicle in rural Morgan County at 1:49 p.m. Friday. That was after a passer-by alerted Morgan County Sheriff's Deputies about a suspicious vehicle in a ditch on Leach Farm Road, about eight miles from Jacksonville.

Artwork with a purpose

The tragedy compelled Michael Patrick of Springfield to create a black-and-blue image with a heart containing the victims' first names and the skyline of Springfield. It also incorporates Bunn Corp.'s logo.

"I can't imagine what the families of the victims are going through," Patrick told The State Journal-Register. "To think you were just going to work, living your life and to have something so senseless and tragic happen. I think that's what all of us are thinking, too, which is what compelled me to create the image.

"Symbols are very powerful, especially on social media, and I thought this was something that could be easily shared to show that the community is here for these victims, their families, friends and everyone at Bunn."


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