Community gathers for vigil to mourn death of 6-year-old Eli Hart

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The Mound community gathered Friday night in remembrance of 6-year-old Eli Hart.

“It’s a lot of mourning. We lost a great little kid a week ago today,” said Ray Salazar, the mayor of Mound.

One week ago, Eli’s body was found in the trunk of a car, during a traffic stop, with his mother behind the wheel.

“It was just heartbreaking. I can’t even imagine, I can’t believe this happened,” said Chris Foley, Mound resident, adding, “I don’t know. Hopefully, this will help heal everybody from what happened.”

Authorities say Eli was shot to death, and his mother now faces second-degree murder charges.

“It’s an absolute tragedy,” commented Pastor Dave Olson of the River Valley Church, who attended the vigil. “Our hearts are for the family as they’re dealing with this and praying for healing for them.”

Tory Hart, Eli’s father, and his fiance, Josie Josephson, attended the vigil but did not speak.

Dozens of people showed up to lend comfort to the grieving family.

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“We just really need to make sure we reach out to each other, stay connected,” said Jessica Gould of Mound.

Eli’s family said he had dreams of becoming a firefighter. That wish was granted here. “This helmet is now Eli’s, and he is part of the crew. Firefighter Hart […] is now part of Mound fire.”

Residents are also circulating a petition to have the bridge named after Eli.

“Our citizens are in great mourning,” Salazar told the crowd at the vigil. “And we’re here to heal. That’s the whole point.”

A GoFundMe has been set up to help cover Eli’s funeral expenses.