Skip to Content

‘We’re here for you.’ Survivors of two Colorado mass shootings offer words of support to a man who survived the Boulder attack

Brian Kruesi says he was walking out of King Soopers after shopping in the Boulder, Colorado, store when he spotted the gunman firing outside.

He ran back inside, warning other shoppers and employees about what was unfolding a few feet away — hurriedly trying to get people to the back of the store, to safety.

It was, he says, a “surreal” experience.

“You don’t really expect to have to be in that sort of situation,” Kruesi told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Tuesday night.

But across the state — and country — a long list of other Americans have faced a similar experience: surviving a mass shooting. The state of Colorado alone has been the scene of at least six mass shootings in recent years, according to previous CNN reporting.

Frank DeAngelis, the former principal of Columbine High School never expected to find himself in that situation either. Twelve students and one teacher were killed at the school in Littleton on April 20, 1999 when two students opened fire.

He says was back at the school on Monday planning the 22-year remembrance when he heard the news about the Boulder supermarket.

“It’s almost denial believing that it happened,” he said. “In Colorado … we’ve seen so many (shootings) … and now it’s to the point where we’re in a state of disbelief.”

“The most important thing moving forward, we’re reaching out to help them (other survivors),” DeAngelis said. “I joined a club which no one wants to be a member but when we tell people we know what you’re feeling, we really have experienced that and I think we could help, we’re a phone call away in helping that community.”

Pieces of advice for another survivor

Jansen Young survived the movie theater shooting in Aurora in July 20, 2012. Twelve people were killed and 70 were injured.

Appearing in the same segment on CNN, she told Kruesi that having an outlet, like the media, to share her experience, helped her though the first days after the shooting.

“You don’t know, when you’re in this big mix-up of a tragedy, you don’t know how much just talking about it helps,” she said. “So I really commend Brian on telling his story today.”

And throughout the years, Young said she has found strength in sharing the victims’ names and knowing they are remembered.

The road to healing will be a “marathon and not a sprint,” DeAngelis told Kruesi.

“The best piece of advice that I received 24 hours after (the Columbine shooting),” DeAngelis said, “(Is) if you don’t help yourself you can’t help others.”

“There’s going to be days, saying ‘Boy, everything is going well’ and then something triggers an emotion,” he said. “You need to find that support system for yourself.”

And that support system, DeAngelis says, includes the other survivors.

“I know Colorado and the people in Colorado, they’ll come together as one,” he said. “You have so many people to help you Brian, and we’re here for you.”

Article Topic Follows: National-World

Jump to comments ↓

CNN Newsource


ABC 17 News is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content