Newtown Dad: Georgia Case "Frighteningly Similar"

No one was injured in the incident at the Georgia school.

By LeAnne Gendreau
|  Wednesday, Aug 21, 2013  |  Updated 2:45 PM CDT
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Newtown Dad: Georgia Case "Frighteningly Similar"

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Eight months after the horrific school shooting in Newtown, Conn., parents in Georgia rushed to reunite with their children after a man with an AK-47 rifle walked into an Atlanta-area elementary school Tuesday.

The man surrendered peacefully, according to reports, and Georgia officials said they are “lucky” no one was killed in the school, according to NBC News.

Wednesday morning, the father of a little boy killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School was on the "Today" show and called the two incidents “frighteningly similar.”

Mark Barden’s 7-year-old son, Daniel, was killed in the Newtown shooting. The little boy who dreamed of becoming a firefighter was one of 20 first graders and six staff members killed in the shooting.

“It is frighteningly similar, and I just feel so deeply for those parents and those children who had to endure that horrific scenario, and we’re just so thankful that everybody emerged OK from that,” Mark Barden told Savannah Guthrie.

Officials have identified the suspect in the Georgia case as Michael Brandon Hill, 20.

When asked whether the incident and the images of children running in terror brought up feelings of fear, sorrow or anger, Barden said he feels like he needs to keep going. 

After the shooting, Barden joined several other families affected by the tragedy and became a voice for gun control legislation, both the state and national level. 

“For me, I feel I need to really keep going. There are so many … issues that need to be addressed. You know, this is an epidemic and it’s a huge problem here in our culture. We need to address a lot of different items, holistically,” Barden said.

He said this includes addressing mental health issues and the need for better access to mental health care, firearms safety issues, legislation and community outreach.

“We just need to look at our society as a whole and evolve from this place,” Barden said.

When asked if things have changed, or whether the moment of Newtown has passed, Barden said he does not think the moment has passed.

“I continue to speak to people and people are still very touched and very aware of what happened in Newtown and unfortunately, there are situations that continue to happen, so I think people are aware of this epidemic,” Barden said.

He added that organizations, including Sandy Hook Promise and Americans for Responsible Solutions, are doing great work.

 

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