"We called and listened all night for the phone. He never responded," said Brigid Gillum, who waited to hear from her brother-in-law, Greg Gillum. "I couldn't do anything but pray, and I prayed and I prayed."
"My wife was just sobbing," said Greg's father, Gordon Winbled. "She said, 'I think we lost a son tonight.'
"We knew that night he was gone," Brigid said.
As the silence began to take on its own meaning, the families finally received the feared news on Wednesday afternoon.
David Radcliffe and Greg Gillum, both of Mount Vernon, were among the six people killed during Skagit County's deadliest shooting rampage on Tuesday.
The news left the grief-stricken families and friends struggling to make sense of the tragedy.
"It could have been a car accident, an illness. Somehow those are more explainable," said Winbled.
Greg, 38, had moved from California two years ago in search of a new start, leaving behind his daughter, Megan, and son, Ryan. The two kids, Brigid said, meant the world to Greg.
"He gave his kids every dime out of his pocket," she said. "Always took them out to have fun. When they came up here on vacations with him, we were out bowling, we went fishing."
Mike Adkinson's friend of 20 years died alongside Greg. Adkinson describes Radcliffe, 58, as a strong man with few words but with more to offer than most.
"You might be around David for a long time and not know what he thought about a lot of things but he had a great deal of depth," he said.
Radcliffe applied that depth to his construction business, Adkinson said, designing and building homes with precision and thoughtfulness. Radcliffe was doing just that when he was gunned down.
"The only thing I can say is it's hard to wrap your arms around it," Adkinson said.
Radcliffe's family members issued the following statement in response to the tragedy.
"In as much as we can appreciate the media's need for information to convey to the public, the Radcliffe family would like to request that their privacy be respected during this difficult time.
"David was a peaceful, deeply intelligent, and creative man whose strength and stability was a blessing to all of the many friends and family who loved him. His passing is a huge loss for this community.
Our only hope is that if any good can come from this incredible tragedy is that changes may come to the systems that provide support for those who suffer from mental illness. We would hope that no family should suffer from a senseless tragedy such as this in the future."
A candlelight vigil for all six victims will be held at Alger Community Church on Friday at 8 p.m. The public is invited to attend.