(QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Wednesday marks ten years since the deadly mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
As families of the victims mark the somber anniversary, journalists also remember the stories they told that day.
Queen City News spoke to one of those journalists, Dawn Ennis, an overnight assignment editor for ABC News at the time, who explained what happened when she got the call to head to Newtown.
“I’ve got a video camera from ABC in the trunk of my car. She says, ‘There’s been a shooting.’ She said, ‘Not only do we know that people have been shot and maybe killed, but it’s at a school, so we think children are among the victims. You’re gonna be our eyes and ears,'” Ennis recalled.
Ennis said she’ll never forget what happened when she got on the scene at the firehouse, where parents were being told to gather to learn about the status of their children.
“They didn’t know that their little 20 precious lives had been lost. Even from outside, we could hear screaming,” said Ennis. “My job was to get someone to talk to, find out what’s going on, interview them.”
She described the moment, saying, “they started streaming out and walking towards us. I locked eyes with one mom. This woman was beyond any kind of grief I had ever experienced or seen. Whatever it was, I don’t know; I put down my camera. I could not stick that camera in her face, and I just mouthed the words as we looked into each other’s eyes. ‘I’m so sorry,’ and I let her pass.”
To this day, Ennis stands by her decision to put her camera down.
“I think that there’s no greater responsibility than to be human,” she said.
Ennis’s daughter was also in first grade in 2012.
“She turned 16 in October,” she said. “I thought, there are parents grieving every single day, not just on Dec. 14, every single day, because they don’t have a kid to hug.”
It’s a story she thinks about often, but especially this year, as families mark another year on the worst tally of their lives.
“You’re never really gonna heal,” Ennis said. “You just need to learn to live with this hole in your heart, and I hope that ten years on the hole is just a tiny bit smaller and that you’re surrounded by love.”