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Painful memories resurface in wake of Newtown shootings

By Colleen O'Brien, Reporter / Weekend Anchor, colleeno@kxly.com
Published On: Dec 14 2012 07:07:35 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 14 2012 08:08:52 PM CST
columbine kevin parker
SPOKANE, Wash. -

State Representative Kevin Parker is a survivor of Columbine and lives with that every day. The shootings in Newtown, served to bring up those painful memories again.

13 years ago, parker was a student mentor at Columbine High School in Aurora, Colo. He was in the cafeteria when two students -- Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold -- stormed the school and killed 12 students and one teacher.

Parker remembers thinking he was going to die as he huddled on the cafeteria floor with the rest of the students.

He's been able to heal in the years that followed, but on Friday, hearing about the tragedy unfolding in Connecticut, the news hit him especially hard.

"I think it does become more emotional the older I get because now it moves from when I was just a 25-year-old to now I've got kids and in this case kids the same age so this was particularly emotional," he explained.

Parker has already reached out to the governor of Connecticut, Dan Malloy, and mayors of surrounding towns to let them know that he is available for them.

As a lawmaker, Parker says he doesn't think laws can prevent school shootings, but awareness and education can, particularly about mental illness and perhaps more state help for parents who need help if they suspect their child needs help.

Through this, Parker said we also need to think about the teachers involved in this and in our community and remember to thank them for all they do.

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