NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Many are asking what can be done after a violent robbery and stabbing in a west Nashville neighborhood last week led to the death of a man and sent the wife to the hospital.

The suspect in the case, Peter Bohning of Connecticut, was shot and killed after a reported attack on a Texas deputy on Monday morning.

A woman in contact with the family of Donald and Leigh Ann Zirkle said there are simple things people can do to show their support.

“As a social worker and a therapist, I care a lot about people not going through something alone," said neighbor Kymberlee Stanley. "I think it’s perceived as less of a trauma when someone understands they are not alone. They’re in a community.”

Outside a home on Cherokee Road, neighbors quickly organized a vigil one day after Donald Zirkle was murdered and Leigh Ann Zirkle was critically injured. Stanley arranged a picture of the neighbors holding candles above their heads to send to the Zirkles' family.

"People came out of the woodwork who I'd never met," she said. "They'd never met each other. They did this in order to show support for the family that hadn't even met them."

Another neighbor is Hillsboro High sophomore Julia Sussman. She'd been in class with Donald Zirkle as a substitute teacher for Metro Schools.

“He was one of the few subs that talked to us like we were humans,” said Sussman. “A student could be in a bad mood and he’d go over and talk to them like they were friends.”

Metro Police said Bohning was shot after stabbing a deputy in Gaines County, Texas. The deputy was taken to an El Paso, TX, hospital for non-life threatening injuries.

With the death of suspect Bohning in the shooting, some neighbors near Cherokee Road feared they'll never get answers as to why the Zirkles were attacked. Stanley sees it differently.

“I myself don’t have a need to understand why,” she explained. "I think the only answer I had is we had a person in a desperate situation that committed an egregious crime that left a lot of people suffering. I think 'why' is the wrong question. It’s what now?”

Stanley has been in contact with the family of Leigh Ann Zirkle, offering to help in whatever way she can. The possibility of a GoFundMe for the family is being discussed but has not been created at this time.

“There’s an outpouring of love not just for him but for them," said Sussman. "Thank you for bringing him to us.”

“We want the family to know we care, and we’re there for them,” said Stanley. “At a time of need, people will come.”

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Reporter

Forrest Sanders is an award-winning reporter, videographer and editor at News4.

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