CRYSTAL LAKE – The tragedy in Newtown, Conn., resurrected the pain of a Crystal Lake father and his family, just five months after his son was killed in a mass shooting.
“We can relate to those folks in the most tragic way,” said Scott Larimer, father of John Larimer, who was killed in the July 20 shooting of scores of moviegoers at a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colo.
John Larimer was working in Colorado as a cryptologist with the U.S. Navy. He died protecting his girlfriend, who survived.
In all, 12 people were killed in the theater.
Scott Larimer said he watched some news coverage of the Dec. 14 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., just to know what was going on. “It’s one of those things, just as we’re starting to heal, this happens,” Larimer said. “All the memories of the funeral and tears ... come flooding right back.”
Police say Adam Lanza killed his mother in their house in Connecticut and then went to the elementary school, where he killed 20 children and six adults before committing suicide.
The Larimer family had to wait 20 hours to find out whether their son had died in the theater. In Newtown, parents and family members waited for hours after the shooting at a fire station near the school, hoping to be reunited with their children, only to be told their children did not survive.
“I was in tears just thinking about these poor families and waiting to get the bad news,” Larimer said.
Larimer said families in Newtown will need support in the weeks and months to come – something people in Crystal Lake and the rest of the county gave to the Larimers.
“It can’t just be a week long, and [after] the last funeral everyone goes home,” Larimer said.
In the months after the Aurora shootings, victims’ families began to point out that donated money was not being given directly to families as donors had intended. Families eventually started a website to talk about the problem of money directed to nonprofits rather than to the victims themselves. The site now has links to fundraisers for victims’ families in the Newtown shooting.
Larimer said there are people already running scams to steal money given in the wake of the Newtown shooting.
“I hope they [the families] don’t go through the same pains we did,” he said.