MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. – The Maryland Heights community is still trying to wrap their heads around the tragic shooting that happened in the Community Center on Monday, February 24.
“We are a very safe community and sometimes when bad things happen it’s hard to accept and you wonder why…” said Gabrielle Macaluso, Assistant to the City Administrator at the Government Center.
Michael Honkomp, a part-time janitor at the facility, shot and killed his co-worker Maria Lucas out of anger for being sent home due to disciplinary reasons.
City government officials are aware that the incident has taken a toll on employees and Maryland Heights’ residents. To help people cope, the Maryland Heights Government Center will hold two free trauma support and counseling sessions. Everyone is welcome to join.
Macaluso said, “We want to be there for our community and we know a lot of people are hurting. It’s very hard to deal with this type of traumatic event. We want to make sure that everyone is taken care of and have the resources to really recover.”
The counselors providing the sessions are licensed professionals from P.A.S., a company the city uses to provide their Employee Assistance Program.
Maryland Heights resident Donna Clark said, “I think the counseling is excellent, especially for children cause my granddaughter was in the door and saw [all of the police at the community center] when we were passing by, and it made her nervous… There’s a lot of children out there that don’t understand. A lot of parents that don’t understand.”
City officials are now working with the Maryland Heights Police Department to assess the security and safety of all of their facilities starting with the Community Center.
The next counseling session will be held at the Government Center on Sunday, March 1 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.