Candlelight vigil held for mother killed at gas station

Posted at 11:28 PM, Jul 27, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-28 00:00:38-04

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — A candlelight vigil was held for the mother of three who was a killed at a gas station July 23.

As the parents of Nicole Gates standing in front of their daughters memorial, which was decorated in flowers and candles, they accepted hugs from friends, family and even strangers.

More than 300 people showed up at the Citgo station where Gates was killed in the early hours of July 23.  With candles in hand, each person bowed their heads in a moment of silence.

"We love you Nicole," one person shouted as the crowd cheered.

Other members of the community expressed their outrage over the fact that Gates was working alone the night she was murdered. "We need to get our legislators to pass this law, no one at any gas stations should work by themselves," one woman said.

Gates' best friend, Jennifer Hinton, created a memory board that she placed with the flowers. It featured a trio: herselfer, Gates and Geana Phillips, three best friends who called themselves The Meatballs

"Team Meatballs," Phillips and Hinton yelled during the vigil.

With Gates accused killer, Shawn Pike, and his alleged accomplice, Dustin Hartman, in custody, the mother's friends are fighting for justice in her death.

"The 'Why?' is what's killing me. Why did he go that far?" Hinton asked.  "Why didn't he just lock her in a room and take what he wanted and leave? He's sick. He is very sick. We will get justice, put it that way. I don't care if it takes 'til the day I die, she will get justice."

FOX 17 spoke to Gates' parents. They didn't want to make a statement, but they instead said the outpouring of support from the community "says it all."

Gates' funeral will be held Wednesday, July 30, at 3 p.m. at Farley-Estes & Dowdle Funeral Home. Visitation will be Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Memorial contributions can be made by clicking here.