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Tragedy causes flashbacks for some Knoxvillians

7:25 PM, Jul 20, 2012   |    comments
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Tammy Sommers was seriously injured during a Knoxville church shooting in July 2008.

Images of the theater shooting hit too close to home for some East Tennesseans.  They have also personally witnessed national tragedies.

Tammy Sommers was shot in the head in 2008 after a gunman walked into Knoxville's Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church. 

"I do have a memory, before all the shock set in, of just holding my children and bleeding all over my children," Sommers remembers.  "I know this morning [Friday], they showed clips of people departing with blood.  I guess that is a flashback I have."

Jonathan Thompson was a Freshman at Virginia Tech during the 2007 campus shooting.

"I saw the police at the building and I saw them bust in and heard a boom," Thompson said before explaining his thoughts on Friday's shooting in Colorado.  "You feel fear and anxiety, then sorrow for those impacted by such an incident.  It also shifts to anger and frustration for people who commit these type acts."

Both Thompson and Sommers said there is no way for victims and witnesses of such events to forget their experiences, though time does help dilute the memory.

"I think I've been able to cope with it well," Thompson said.  "I think it takes time and it varies for each individual."

"The witnesses and the victims all need love and support," Sommers added.

Next Friday marks four years since the shooting at TVUUC.

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