Oregon District shooting: Man who made cross for each victim dies

RELATED: Oregon District shooting: Crosses for each victim line Fifth Street

Greg Zanis, founder of Crosses for Losses, died Monday of cancer in the carpenter’s hometown of Aurora, Illinois. He was 69.

Zanis made crosses for each of the nine innocent people gunned down in the Aug. 4, 2019, shooting in the Oregon District.

Zanis was already on the way to the scene of the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, when he heard about the Dayton shooting. 

“I had left and I was on the way to El Paso,” Zanis said.

Zanis said he tries to spend only a brief amount of time at the scenes of the tragedies, but takes the time to meet with the victims’ families. “I try to get in and out without crying.”

Of Dayton’s Oregon District, Zanis said: “This is the most beautiful area. It just reminds me of Bourbon Street.”

>> Family of Oregon District shooting victims among mourners at homicide victim memorial service

There were nine people killed in 32 seconds before Dayton police gunned down the shooter. The victims were: Megan Betts, Monica Brickhouse, Nicholas Cumer, Derrick Fudge, Thomas McNicholas, Lois Oglesby, Saeed Salah, Logan Turner and Beatrice Nicole Warren-Curtis.

Zanis began making the crosses following his father-in-law’s homicide in the 1990s, and has personally delivered more than 20,000 of his handmade crosses.

“Greg Zanis was a giant among men. He was a man of action who simply wanted to honor the lives of others,” Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin said in a post on the city’s Facebook page. “His legacy shall forever be remembered in Aurora and around the globe.”

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