Newtown shooting victim to be honoured at Winnipeg vigil

A candlelight vigil tonight in downtown Winnipeg will remember six-year-old Ana Marquez-Greene, one of the victims in Friday's mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

The youngster was one of 20 students and six staff members killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, just a few months after the Marquez-Greene family moved from Winnipeg to Newtown in July.

Ana's father, Jimmy Greene, is a jazz musician who was a faculty member at the University of Manitoba's school of music for three years before the family moved to Connecticut.

Her mother, Nelba Marquez-Greene, had worked as a family therapist at the University of Winnipeg's Family Therapy Centre.

Between 50 and 300 people are expected to attend the vigil at 7 p.m. CT Monday at the Family Therapy Centre.

A single candle was seen burning at the vigil site at 6 p.m. Also visible were a teddy bear and a doll dressed as an angel, the CBC's Chris Glover reports.

A similar vigil will take place the following night at the University of Manitoba.

Officials later determined that a 20-year-old opened fire in the school before killing himself.

Alys-Lynne West, who spent a lot of time with the family while they were in Winnipeg, described Ana as "a little fireball of energy and a cute beauty."

"[She was] so articulate, so smart, and loving and curious," she said.

Alys-Lynne West, who is organizing Monday night's vigil, said purple ribbons will be handed out to those who attend.

"Purple is Ana's favourite colour," she said, adding that people are being asked to wear purple to honour the little girl.

Another family friend, Steve West, called Ana a special little girl.

"Just a beautiful little girl that had a great spirit, playful," he said.

Karen Schroeder's daughter Abby was good friends with Ana and is now struggling with her death.

Schroeder said they were shopping this weekend and her daughter spotted a snowglobe and said, "Look Mom, Ana."

"There was a snow globe that had a little black ballerina with angel wings, wearing a pink tutu. For my daughter's birthday party, Ana arrived in her full ballet gear," Schroeder said, fighting tears.

She described Ana as being filled with music and "wherever she went, she would dance."

The Marquez-Greene family has a deep faith, which is helping them cope with the tragedy. They have also been moved by all of the support and love from Winnipeg and are at peace, Schroeder said.

Ana's nine-year-old brother, Isaiah, also was at the school, but escaped the shooting.

The family has shared a video of Ana and Isaiah on Facebook, showing the siblings singing at a piano.

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