WINCHESTER – Hundreds of grief gathered on Sunday at the Winchester Unitarian Society to brutally mourn the death of a young woman as she calmly moved in public library of the city read. Authorities have not identified the victim, but the president of the university in which she participated, and several friends said she was 22-year-old Deane Stryker, a Winchester High graduate of the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the University of New England studied.
Friends in the church remembered Stryker as a young woman committed to helping others as a doctor, and who, as teenagers, cared for the children and nearby Temple Shir Tikvah.
"This is a time to support each other and be together as a community," Rev. Heather Janules said to the gathering in the Church
Janules called the "Spirit of Love" to the community of Winchester.
"Bless us in the midst of this place of broken hearts," she said.
James Herbert, president of the University of New England, said in a statement that the campus community was "shocked and saddened by Stryker's death."
"As a freshman at the UNE College of Osteopathic Medicine, Deane started on his way to becoming a doctor and was a promising student who was passionate about medicine and helped others," said Herbert.
"She was a lawyer for domestic violence and mental health awareness and an active member of the … college community," he continued. "She served as a guidance facilitator and was part of a student organization that offered confidential support to other students in need of a place to turn."
On Saturday, Marian T. Ryan, Middlesex lawyer, told Winchester resident Jeffery Yao – who had attended high school with Stryker – attacked her with a 10-inch hunting knife and injured her head and upper body with cuts and puncture wounds while studying in the city library.
Stryker was able to run from Yao to the lobby of the library while at least two other guests, including a 77-year-old man, arrested Yao until the police arrived. She was taken to a hospital, where she subsequently died.
The 77-year-old man was injured and hospitalized but should survive, Ryan said.
Yao was arrested at the scene and charged with murder and charges of armed robbery, according to Ryan. He is held without bail until his indictment, which is scheduled for Monday in the district court of Woburn.
Several Winchester residents told the Globe that Yao was in trouble and often behaved violently.
In the Unitarian Church on Sunday, the service was not about anger over violence, which appeared so close to the house, but about a shared mourning: the embrace shared by friends; the sound of slow, calm comforting words; Parents clapped their arms around the shoulders of children mourning for an early life.
Among the participants were members of the Synagogue of Stryker, who joined forces with other parishioners to light candles and hang cranes folded from small branches.
In an after-worship interview, Temple Cantor Beth Levin told reporters she was "heartbroken and soulless" and had known Stryker for about a decade.
"Deane was full of love and gentleness, and she was part of our community as a babysitter and a ghost who made everyone feel good wherever she went," Levin said.
Members of Stryker's family were also associated with the temple in the past, she said. She said that Stryker always wanted to become a doctor.
"She's just portrayed what's good in each one of us," Levin said. "Children felt it, adults felt it, they became trusted, they were responsible."