Chris Hurst Has A Heartbreaking Message For San Bernardino

December 3rd 2015

Laura Donovan

Roanoke, Virginia news anchor Chris Hurst, whose girlfriend Alison Parker and colleague Adam Ward were killed on live TV during a news report over the summer, just published an emotional essay response to Wednesday's San Bernardino shooting that killed 14 people and injured 21 others.

In a piece for the Daily Beast, Hurst describes what it was like to lose his loved one to gun violence and how it makes him feel to see it happen over and over again in the U.S. Ward and Parker were killed by a disgruntled former employee who later died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

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Hurst wrote in his article that he won't "pretend that [he has] any idea" what the family members of San Bernardino victims are going through right now but that every story about gun violence cuts deep for him. As ATTN: noted on Wednesday, the San Bernardino shooting is the worst mass shooting in the country since the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy that claimed 27 lives three years ago.

"[A]s the early days wore on, the realization my girlfriend was now a statistic, a case out of hundreds now part of one of the truly unnecessary narratives of this generation, put a tight burning sensation around my chest I feel each time I read reports of another person killed with a gun," Hurst wrote.

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Hurst also revealed that he was "not surprised" to have lost someone to gun violence since it remains such a huge problem in our country:

"I knew from almost the moment I woke up to a phone call from my news station that my girlfriend Alison was dead. Alison was not the first, nor sadly the last, loved one to be killed in an act of demonstrative gun violence. My first reaction was not, how could this happen? but rather, it actually happened to me. I was shocked, but not surprised. My next call was to my father and I remember feeling that I could believe it, it was possible, and that I was just absolutely heartbroken that I was the unlucky fellow who had been picked that day, that week in America to be collateral damage to a phenomenon of our own creation."

He added that he received a slew of phone calls and text messages from family members and friends following Parker's death. He did his best to get back to everybody, but all he wanted to do was scroll to the last text exchange he had with Parker before she died. He also warned readers that news outlets all over the country began calling his phone number even though he never gave it to them.

"I later found out many news organizations have special accounts with LexisNexis to purchase our private cell phone numbers," he wrote. "Don’t think at all you’d be protected from their search."

Hurst also noted that information surrounding shootings can come a lot slower for victims' family members. While he learned almost immediately that Parker had died on camera, he wrote that the waiting process for Sandy Hook families was much more uncertain and stressful:

"For those who lost children at Sandy Hook, the information didn’t even come in drips—they were gathered into a firehouse, then told hours later that their child 'had expired.' An ER nurse and mother of a daughter shot by a friend with an unsecured gun told me she rushed into the operating room to try to help revive her, only to be told by law enforcement to 'not touch the evidence.' That 'evidence,' her little girl, had her eyes crusted over with blood."

In August, Hurst and Andy Parker, the father of Alison Parker, appeared on Fox News to talk about the issue of gun violence in the U.S.

"We've got to do something about crazy people getting guns," Andy Parker said. "I know that this is the news business, but next week this isn't going to be a story and everybody is going to forget it. Mark my words ... I'm going to do something to shame legislatures into doing something about closing loopholes and background checks and making sure crazy people don’t get guns."

Andy Parker also told Fox News that he had spoken to Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) on the day of the tragedy and that McAuliffe supported bringing gun reform to the state.

"This is not the last you've heard of me," Andy Parker said. "This is something that is Alison's legacy that I want to make happen."

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