BELFAST, Maine — Lynn Arsenault was a mentor to some but a friend to all she met.
Those were the stories told through tears and laughter Friday evening as more than 150 people turned out for a vigil for Arsenault, who died Aug. 28 from gunshot wounds.
What led to the senseless tragedy is not known, said close friend Greg Johnson, but this night was about supporting each other and remembering Arsenault.
Johnson said he recalls Arsenault’s beautiful smile and that it was appropriate to have so many beautiful lights at the vigil held on the water’s edge of Belfast City Park.
Ernestine Pratt said Arsenault was a friend and mentor, helping her work in the credit division of Bank of America in Belfast where Arsenault was a credit manager and assistant vice president.
“I love her and miss her. Now she will be my guardian angel,” Pratt said.
Mary Weiss dated one of Arsenault’s sons and said that Arsenault took her into her home for two years. She said Arsenault was the kindest and most generous person she had known.
“She loved me like I was her own,” Weiss said.
Weiss also said Arsenault helped her get a job at Bank of America and would give her encouragement each day.
“I will make her proud,” Weiss said.
Arsenault’s cousin, Wayne Sirois, said he probably knew Lynn longer than anyone at the vigil, recalling when Arsenault was born. He said her love of chocolate, which was mentioned by a few of the other people who spoke, was a family trait.
But most of all she was a caring and nurturing person to the end, Sirois said. He said he believes Arsenault was killed trying to protect her child.
Todd Gilday, 44, of Belfast was arrested the day after the shooting and charged with the intentional or knowing murder of Arsenault, who celebrated her 55th birthday two days before her death. Gilday also is charged with elevated aggravated assault, accused of shooting Arsenault’s son, 22-year-old Mathew Day of Belfast.
According to a police affidavit filed last week in Belfast District Court by Maine State Police, Day’s roommate, John Riley, told police a man had pushed his way into the house late on the night of Aug. 28, shot Arsenault and said that he would “kill everyone in the [expletive] house.”
When police arrived, Day was lying across his mother, who died of a gunshot wound to the chest that punctured her lung. Day was shot in the arm and stomach with birdshot, and told police that Gilday had shot him but that he did not know why.
Gilday is being held at Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset.
The vigil concluded with floating lanterns being set aloft over Penobscot Bay at sunset and songs being sung.
Shawn Doll, a co-worker, read a poem that included the lines, “I won’t agree this is destiny, it all came on too soon. I won’t remember tragedy, I will take what was left by you.”