Teenagers and adults gathered in the cool, damp air on Sunday, Dec. 17, just outside the Vinita High School softball field for a candlelight vigil for their friend and coach, Jason Sauer.
Sauer, the Vinita High School softball coach, was allegedly shot multiple times on Friday, Dec. 15, by Vinita Attorney Karl Jones, according to information released by authorities.
Jones, was arrested at the scene of the incident, and taken into custody on complaints of shooting with intent to kill. He has since been released from the Craig County Jail in Vinita on a $250,000 bond.
Sauer and Jones were reportedly in a verbal argument that quickly turned physical at the time of the shooting.
Sauer was transported to a Tulsa hospital where he remains in critical condition following the shooting.
“The biggest rumor to dispel is he (Sauer) is alive,” said Ben Showler after the 30-minute ceremony.
Muffled sobs were heard throughout the vigil.
Showler told the crowd of about 75 people Sauer was very coherent when the two men talked on the telephone earlier in the day Sunday.
“I told him I was glad to hear your voice,” Showler said.
Showler, who currently holds a teaching position in Bartlesville, described Sauer as “full of life — full of energy — a real go getter.”
“I think he is a little surprised at the outpouring,” Showler said in connection to the voluminous text messages, emails and telephone calls of support given to Sauer and his family.
A teary-eyed Robert Sanders, pastor of Alive Church Vinita, encouraged the crowd to pray specific prayers for Sauer’s healing.
“There is power in prayer and there is power in family,” Sanders said, adding that Vinita is a community that comes together during times of crisis. "It's because we are a family."
Several members of the softball team was present during the vigil.
“He’s a fighter and he has never given up on us and we aren’t going to give up on him,” said Breana Chapman, 16, and a member of the team.