Clowns and magicians were on hand today along with guards and police officers as children returned to the Jewish community center where a white supremacist went on a shooting rampage last week.
Many of the youngsters arrived with bright green and purple hair for "Crazy Hair Day," aimed at creating an atmosphere of fun at the day camp at the North Valley Jewish Community Center.
"I'm a little nervous. She's a little apprehensive," Michael Gottlieb said as he dropped off his 4-year-old daughter, Amanda. "I told her to have a good day, that Mommy was going to stay with her for a little while, and I would pick her up later today."
Amanda had stood in the center's lobby just 20 feet from the gunman last Tuesday as he fired 70 shots and wounded a 68-year-old receptionist, a 16-year-old counselor and three boys.
The alleged gunman, Buford O. Furrow, was charged with murder and attempted murder after surrendering to the FBI in Las Vegas last Wednesday.
More than 160 children--only five were absent--were met with hugs and smiles when they reentered the center.
One of the victims, Joshua Stepakoff, 6, showed up with his foot in a cast. "My oldest son went over and signed his cast," said Steve Yeager, a former Los Angeles Dodgers catcher whose two sons attend the center.
"For the last seven years this has been our home away from home for my whole family," said Amanda's mother, Bonnie. "My children, especially my daughter, needed to see the faces of their friends and. . . . the [camp] counselors."
The only shooting victim still hospitalized, Benjamin Kadish, 5, remains in serious condition.