Queens Vigil Will Remember Newtown Victims With Ties to Sunnyside

By Jeanmarie Evelly on December 18, 2012 1:09pm 

 A candlelight vigil will be held in Sunnyside, Queens on Tuesday, Dec. 18 to honor the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, two of whom had ties to the Sunnyside community.
A candlelight vigil will be held in Sunnyside, Queens on Tuesday, Dec. 18 to honor the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, two of whom had ties to the Sunnyside community.
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QUEENS — A Sunnyside vigil planned for Tuesday night to remember victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting will focus on two casualties with ties to the Queens community, according to City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer's office.

The family of Benjamin Andrew Wheeler, 6, who died in Friday's massacre,  lived in Sunnyside before moving to Newtown, Conn. His mother, Francine Wheeler, was an active member of Sunnyside Gardens Park, according to the councilman's office.

"Francine resided with us in Sunnyside and, while raising her babies, was instrumental in the formation of a community of young mothers here," Van Bramer said in a notice announcing the vigil.

Benjamin, a first-grader, loved "The Beatles, lighthouses, and the No. 7 train to Sunnyside, Queens," according to an obituary posted online.

Family members of Dawn Hochsprung, Sandy Hook Elementary's principal, are also expected to attend the vigil. Hochsprung was killed while trying to stop gunman Adam Lanza from continuing his rampage, according to reports.

She has relatives who live in the area, the councilman's office said.

"We will also gather to support the grieving family of Principal Dawn Hochsprung, who lost her life in a valiant attempt to save her students and colleagues," Van Bramer's announcement reads.

The remembrance vigil will begin tonight at 6 p.m. at Sunnyside Reformed Church at 48-03 Skillman Ave., and will end with a march to Sunnyside Gardens Park. Attendees are asked to bring candles.

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