Parents from the Sandy Hook Promise organization spoke out about gun violence on Thursday.
A deadly elementary school shooting in Texas reopened old wounds for the Newtown community.
Thursday morning, Sandy Hook parents called for immediate action to protect children from gun violence.
Nearly ten years ago, 20 first graders and six educators were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The pain is still raw for Newtown families.
The mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX is the deadliest school shooting since Sandy Hook, officials said. Nineteen children and two teachers were killed inside a fourth-grade classroom on Tuesday.
Sandy Hook Promise said it is an organization dedicated to ending gun violence by teaching children about warning signs before violence occurs. Sandy Hook parents spoke in a virtual news conference at 11 a.m. on Thursday where they discussed actions, insights and recommendations to protect children from gun violence. They addressed the question of how to stop school shootings from happening in the future.
They said they were retraumatized and can empathize with the families in Texas.
“This is their Friday night. I know exactly what she meant reflecting on our own,” said Mark Barden, whose son Daniel was killed in the Sandy Hook shooting. “Daniel [was] shot to death in his first grade classroom. We can start this argument. [It] doesn’t have to be partisan. Everyone wants kids to be safe. No parent should have to deal with [this].”
“Our hearts are absolutely with the Uvalde community and the families that have lost beautiful children and wives and mothers. It has been far too eerily or hauntingly similar to Sandy Hook and has really been for Mark and I and our families to process this,” said Nicole Hockley.
Nicole Hockley, who lost her son Dylan Hockley nearly 10 years ago in the Sandy Hook school massacre says she knows all too well the sheer pain these families are going through.
She said her heart is with these grieving family members.
She also said this incident has haunting similarities to Sandy Hook and that looking for the warning signs to prevent these tragedies is so important.
It is the work of the Sandy Hook Promise organization, and she says showing students to recognize signs of students in distress is their mission to prevent these massacres.
“We have heard reports that he had a troubled home life. He was withdrawn. He spent hours alone by himself in an isolated room. It very echoes of the sandy hook shooter there. So again a lot of opportunities to see this is someone who needed help before he did something tragic,” said Hockley.
Hockley said it is heartbreaking that this young man did not get the help he needed to prevent this.
She believes firmly these shootings are preventable and finds hope that their Sandy Hook Promise program has helped prevent school shootings.
“Had we had earlier interventions at some point it would not have been inevitable. It would have been preventable and that’s what we focus on. We know that early intervention works. We recently in the last week or so in West Virginia. A student saw a fellow student with a gun in his backpack. They made a report after the investigation, and they discovered that was a credible planned school shooting plot. They intervened,” Hockley said.
Mark Barden, who lost his son Daniel in Sandy Hook, says there is also hope in people taking action as a result of this tragedy by speaking out.
“Folks need to be involved. Our representative and legislators need to hear from us. And not just now in the heightened awareness. But consistently going forward. Thank the representatives that are doing good work in this and demand that the representatives in your state and at the federal level are working on this,” Barden said.
Channel 3 has been getting a sense of what survivors go through each time a mass shooting happens.
Hannah D’Avino’s sister Rachel D’Avino was killed during the Sandy Hook shooting. She said that after the Texas shooting, it’s been extremely difficult as memories come flooding back.
“I was shaking, vomiting, I really felt like I was back there, waiting to hear about news about my sister,” Hannah D’Avino said. “Whether it’s gun control or mental health, the changes need to happen.”
A handful of Sandy Hook survivors are heading to Texas to be there for families who are now experiencing similar trauma.
The Newtown Action Alliance said it is hosting a vigil in solidarity with the Uvalde community.
That’s taking place at 6 p.m. on Thursday at the Trinity Episcopal Church on Main Street.