Community, School Safety Forum Draws Dozens - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Community, School Safety Forum Draws Dozens

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Victims of mass shootings all over the country paid a visit to Reno Wednesday for an open forum at the Washoe County Commission Chambers on East 9th Street in Reno.

They were there to tell their stories and help northern Nevada heal from its own recent shootings at Sparks Middle School and the Renown Regional Medical Center campus.

People who came out were glued to their seats as they listened to the different experiences victims shared. They were in the middle of incidents, including ones at Sandy Hook Elementary, Virginia Tech, Tucson and the Carson City IHOP.

"The whole world watched what happened here," said Colin Goddard, who was one of the 17 injured in the Virginia Tech shootings that also claimed the lives of 32 others. "So many of us watched with sad hearts because it was like watching our own events happen again."

The Washoe County School District and Nevada State Senator Debbie Smith put on the forum where people talked about how to make our schools and the rest of the community safer.

"To look out and determine what went right in our community response," said Aaron Kenniston, the Washoe County Emergency Manager. "What do we still need to improve on? Where are the capability gaps?"

Erica Lafferty's mother was the principal who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting more than a year ago. Erica says it's been hard, but she finds healing in helping others by just talking to them.

"It gave me purpose back," she said. "I didn't have purpose. That was all ripped away from December 14th, but this gave it back to me."

We also heard from Sgt. 1st Class Jeremiah Mock who was hurt in the Carson IHOP shooting more than two years ago. He told the crowd to be more aware of their surroundings and talk to people. Even a simple conversation can give clues into how people are feeling or if something is troubling them.

"How well do you know your neighbors?" Mock asked. "Do you talk to your neighbors? We got away from that community feel. This (points at phone) has both connected us and disconnected us at the same time."

We talked to parents who told us this forum was very informative.

"By just simply talking, communicating, letting people come together as a community and talking and being together in these situations," said John Wynn.

"I'm just a concerned mother," said Amanda Caine. "I'm very happy to see they're finally talking about prevention and doing something to stop the shootings from possibly happening again. They haven't done anything yet. They're just talking about it, but it's a first great step."

List of community resources:

Crisis Call Center

The Solace Tree

Trauma Prevention Program of Northern Nevada

Washoe County School Police Safety Efforts

Washoe County School District Counseling






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