Mourners gathered Sunday evening to remember an eastern Iowa teenager who was accidentally shot and killed by a friend. Fourteen-year-old Emma Redlinger of Vinton died Saturday. She had been at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics since the shooting Tuesday night.
Vinton Police said another teenager was handling a .22 caliber rifle inside a home when the gun discharged, hitting Redlinger in the head.
More than 100 friends and family members attended a vigil and prayer service at First Christian Church in Vinton. Mark Redlinger is Emma’s uncle. He spoke with KCRG-TV. “It’s been a sad day, but I’m happy that all these people have come out to show support. I’m very appreciative,” Redlinger said. Jennie Anderson, a head elder at the church, helped organize the vigil.
“Our town has suffered many losses this last year, of our young people and young adults,” Anderson said. “A lot of tragedies, suicides, accidents. We just thought that this was something maybe that they could come together, a safe place where they can express their grief.”
In the days after the shooting, Jennifer Redlinger, Emma’s aunt, created a GoFundMe page to help with the family’s medical bills. More than 265 people have donated over $12,400. “It’s amazing that everybody is out there supporting her,” Jennifer said. “The prayer chains that went out, the GoFundMe, it’s just awesome.”
Emma Redlinger was a freshman at Vinton-Shellsburg High School. Vinton Police Chief Ted Paxton told KCRG-TV last week that the shooting appeared to be accidental and there were adults present in the home at the time.
By Forest Saunders, KCRG-TV