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Valley shares pain, offers support in shooting death of Struthers boy

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The killings shocked and saddened the Struthers community, and the feeling spread across the Valley

STRUTHERS, Ohio (WYTV) – Struthers is not bearing the pain of little Rowan Sweeney’s death alone. Many people want to remember the boy as well.

The 4-year-old child was shot and killed Monday when a man walked into a house in Struthers and opened fire. Four adults were also shot.

The shooting shocked and saddened the Struthers community, and the feeling spread across the Valley.

Blaine Opatken was out Wednesday installing a decal on his car with the hashtag Justice for Rowan.

Opatken and his fiance are making the stickers at their home. They’ve made 50 and have about 150 already ordered.

“It is going to be everywhere, I have a feeling. We got to keep it up,” Opatken said.

The 12-inch-long stickers sell for $5, and Optaken is giving all of the proceeds to David Sweeney, Rowan’s father.

“I have a 4-year-old son. I couldn’t even imagine what kind of pain you guys are going through with this loss,” Opatken said.

That same car sticker was put on Eric Rebic’s truck. He’s helping Rowan’s family too, making yard signs that say “Justice for Rowan” with a Struthers Wildcat paw because he knows the boy wanted to play for the team.

Rebic lives on Perry Street where Rowan was killed. He’s talked with the boy’s dad and has seen the tragedy.

“I couldn’t fathom what he is going through right now. I hope I don’t ever have to,” he said.

Rebic also has a young son and jumped at the chance to remember Rowan Sweeney. He’s even encouraging people everywhere to light up their houses in red.

Rebic and Opatken will give all of their proceeds to David Sweeney. They’ve heard he wants a park in Struthers named in the boy’s honor, but will let Sweeney use the money as he wishes to remember Rowan.

“This is Struthers, and this kind of stuff doesn’t usually happen. He was an innocent 4-year-old boy who deserves justice and deserves to be remembered,” Rebic said.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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