Colorado School Shooting: Mother of Survivor Speaks Out

Junie Sihlangu
May 10, 2019
02:11 P.M.

Students who attend the STEM School Highlands Ranch were left traumatized on Tuesday after two fellow students opened fire. One of the students caught in the crossfire texted his mother as the incident ensued.


Now his mother has spoken to the press sharing her emotional reaction and thoughts about school shootings.


During an interview with CNN’s Newsroom on Thursday, Cami Brainard, 34, opened up about her child, Owen, 14, who was at the STEM School Highlands Ranch when a shooting occurred. She shared: "I knew that there was a possibility that it would someday happen close to home. ... And I'm sad to say that I've never really done anything about it except for hope. And hoping didn't work.”



Brainard had taken to Facebook a day after the incident to share text messages between herself and her son while the shootings were ongoing. She also uploaded an audio recording that Owen had recorded with his phone as the shooters threatened to open fire.

"I was terrified of this happening."

The teenager’s mother became emotional when the audio was replayed during the interview segment. An alarm could be heard sounding off while someone told the students to take cover.



Speaking to the interviewers Brainard said: "Sorry, just listening to it again just is so hard. It's definitely still very surreal. I don't want to be here right now.” With her voice shaking she confessed: "This is really hard for me, but I just feel like it's extremely important that people out there know exactly what's going on and know what's happening here."

The parent received her eighth-grade son’s text messages while she was at work at a hair salon. He informed her that there was a shooting at the school and that they needed to “stay quiet.”



On Wednesday, the parent told CNN: "Knowing that that's my child and that he actually had lived through that ... he's going to be scarred for the rest of his life.” At least one student, Kendrick Castillo, 18, was killed while trying to stop one of the shooters.

Eight other students were wounded and the two suspects are now both in custody. According to Brainard’s social media post, her son said his "legs were shaking and his teeth were chattering he was in such fear.”



Speaking during her latest interview, Owen's mother admitted:

"I have no idea. Honestly, I have no idea. I want to talk to other parents, and I want to hear what they have to say. I know I have this huge community here that's all going through the same thing, but right now, I'm just scared. And I'm scared for my son."

She revealed that her son’s father lived in Colorado Springs, but that he’d arrived at the recreation center not far from the high school, where parents gathered to be reunited with their children after the shooting. Both parents have since agreed that Owen should stay with his father for the time being.


Brainard confessed:

"I was a basket case, honestly. I wasn't in front of my son, but I was basically the minute he left. And I'll get him back home on Mother's Day. Thank God, I'll get him back home on Mother's Day.”


Addressing the gun control issue she said:

"And this shouldn't be about politics. It should be about being able to send our kids to school and not expect them to be brave and save other children."

Owen’s mother also took the time to share her condolences to Castillo’s parents and thank them for their son’s sacrifice.

During her interview the day after the shooting, Brainard admitted: "I was terrified of this happening," and "I thought about it every day. And it happened." The text exchange between her and her son lasted for around 14 minutes.

Owen hid in a classroom during that time.

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