DENVER (CBS4) – The community of Aurora can feel the pain those close to the Connecticut schools shooting are suffering through. It’s been less than five months since a gunman opened fire on a crowded theater.

Those affected by the theatre shooting are already reaching out to the grieving parents in Connecticut.

Jessica Ghawi was a student at Metro State when she was killed in the Aurora theater shootings. Her mother, Sandy Phillips, was in Denver from Texas to receive her daughter’s diploma in a ceremony this weekend. She said for her the news from Connecticut was a flashback.

“(I) started shaking and I broke in to tears because my husband and I know what those families are feeling,” Phillips said.

For Phillips, the feelings are all too familiar.

“Those families are in a living Hell and it’s a nightmare that you never, ever get to wake up from,” she said. “We had Jessy for 24 years, they had their children for 5, 6, 7, 8 years.”

Phillips says each day since her daughter’s death has been a battle.

“It’s a steep climb every day that you just force yourself to make because you can’t lay down and die. You want to, but you can’t.”

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She says for the parents in Newtown, finding strength in each other is what will help them survive.

“They’re all going through the same thing and no one, no one else can understand their pain.”

In the midst of that pain, Phillips says she hopes comes change.

“The bad guys will always get the gun, but that doesn’t mean we do nothing. To do nothing makes us culpable and we can’t do that in America any longer, not after today, not after today.”

Phillips says several of the theater victim’s families are setting up a fund for donations for the Connecticut families. She says absolutely 100 percent of those funds will go directly to those families.


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