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Parents of Aurora theater shooting victim travel to communities impacted by tragedy

Posted at 4:49 PM, May 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-28 19:34:47-04

DENVER — July 20, 2022, will mark 10 years since the Aurora theater shooting that killed 12 people and injured dozens of others.

One of the victims was 24-year-old Jessi.

"If the young man who was with her in the theater had not called us to tell us what had happened, we would have been hours and hours and hours trying to figure out what had happened, what we needed to do, where we needed to go," her mother Sandy Phillips said Saturday.

She and her husband, Lonnie Phillips, have made it their mission since then to honor their daughter by making sure no other family goes through something like this alone.

"We want to honor the experiences that we've had that we can now turn around and give to other people to help them on this journey that nobody wants to take," Sandy said.

Just recently, the two were in Buffalo, New York, visiting a community affected by yet another mass shooting in our country.

Then, as they shared their journey with others there, they learned another mass shooting had occurred, this time in Uvalde, Texas, not far from their hometown of San Antonio.

They got on a plane as quickly as they could.

"We're heading back there now so we can try to help the people and the survivors and the community that's been so dramatically, traumatically, affected," Sandy said.

The scene in Uvalde, Lonnie says, is just like the other 19 they've been to over the years: somber and heartbreaking.

"There was the same number of crosses as were dead, and that's the same in all the places," he said.

But as devastating as it is, the couple says it's also "infuriating" that it's happened again. They praise changes in state laws but are calling on the federal government to do more.

"It continues to happen because our politicians will not grow a backbone and do what's right for this country and the people of this country," Sandy said.

Until that change happens, they'll be at the next tragedy, helping guide others go through something they wish they never had.

You can support their efforts by visiting