Remembering Columbine 15-Years Later Through The Eyes Of A Survi - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Remembering Columbine 15-Years Later Through The Eyes Of A Survivor

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SPOKANE, Wash. - Sunday marks 15-years since the mass shooting at Columbine High School. State Representative Kevin Parker was a student mentor at the time and was at Columbine the day of the shooting to have lunch with a student. He says it is a day that forever changed his life and the lives of everyone who survived this tragedy.

April 20, 1999, Kevin Parker walked into the cafeteria, moments before gunshots rang out through the halls.

“I was just starting to interact with some of the students down there when the janitor and Dave Sanders, who was the teacher who later lost his life in the shooting, was running around the cafeteria trying to make sense of it all,” Kevin Parker said.

When the gunmen started shooting, chaos erupted in the cafeteria.

“That teacher was yelling, get down, get down, get down,” Parker explained. “There were about 500 of us in the cafeteria and what Dave was trying to do and the janitor, was to get some sort of control over the situation as we started to hear the gunshots right outside the cafeteria. So, it was a very perilous moment to say the least.”

It was not until he was out safely, that he learned the bullets were not the only danger.

“We were all under tables and then the FBI when they later interviewed me, told me I was within just a few feet of one of the major bombs, which none of us had seen,” Parker said. “People always wonder how were those bombs sitting in plain site? Well, they were and I was very close to one and I didn't see one either.”

It has been 15-years since that tragic day, but each anniversary brings back the memories of what happened.

“It used to bring me back, especially in the first couple years in particular,” Parker described. “I would be able to go back to where I was, what I smelled, what I heard, the fear that I felt as an individual.”

That day, the gunmen killed 12 fellow students and one teacher before taking their own lives. Kevin says it is an experience that completely changed every aspect of his life.

“Mostly it's given me a greater appreciation for my wife,” Parker said. “I think I’m probably a better husband as a result of knowing what it’s like or at least to feel like I could've lost my life.”

Each year, survivors pause to remember the lives lost. A day 15-years ago, full of painful memories, that never really goes away.

“For the most part, the community is healing, they’re doing well, but the community collectively does get disrupted anytime another tragedy happens,” Parker said.

Parker also says the parents of Rachel Scott, the first student killed at Columbine, have continued their nationwide program to prevent teen violence. He says it is a program that has saved numerous lives. It is a reminder that if you see something, say something. It could end up preventing another tragedy.

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