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St. Joe resident goes from citizen journalist to community activist

BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich. -- Some of the first images ABC57 had of the Berrien County Courthouse after hearing about the shooting came from a St. Joseph resident.

Gretta Volkenstein used Facebook Live to shoot video of first responders gathering outside the courthouse, moments after shots rang out.

Her front row seat to the tragedy led her to create the Berrien County Strong - Community in Action Facebook group which quickly grew to nearly 2,000 members.

She says she started the group in an effort to build community support for law enforcement after the shooting.

"I figured if I'm going to do this, I need to do it right away while we have this momentum and try to keep it going and keep the community involved. We met with a group of about 30 people at my house for us to talk about a strategy, how can we get the community to stay involved and support the local law enforcement and the larger Berrien County as a whole?" Volkenstein said.

The group held a fundraiser for the sheriff's department last summer and helped organize a peace walk.

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