Tuesday, July 22, 2014

D.C. shooting hits home

Current and former students receive encouragement after losing family members

A shooting at the Washington, D.C., Navy Yard killed 12 people and left at least eight injured when gunman Aaron Alexis opened fire Monday, Sept. 16.

According to NBC News, Alexis entered the building with a valid pass and made his way to the fourth floor, where he began shooting employees at random with a shotgun.

Alexis terrorized the third and fourth floors before making his way to the atrium. His shooting spree lasted 30 minutes before first responders were able to kill Alexis, NBC News reported.

Liberty University later disclosed that four current and former students had been personally affected by the incident in Washington. Current students Alexandra and Meghan Kohler’s father, Frank Kohler, was among the 12 killed, as well as alumna Isabel Bodrog’s father, Martin Bodrog, and alumna Heather Hunt’s father, Richard Michael (Mike) Ridgell.

Liberty senior Jen Tenney, a close friend of Isabel Bodrog, said she first heard about the shooting at approximately 9 a.m., and the two started praying for those affected by the tragedy. It was not until 10 p.m. Monday night that the two women heard that Isabel Bodrog’s father had been one of 12 victims of the shooting.

“When I heard about the Navy Yard shooting, I was so horrified,” Tenney said. “… Having a personal tie to someone that works there made me sick, because I didn’t know what to expect of the outcome.”

According to Tenney, the Bodrog family has received a lot of support from Liberty students and faculty.

“I think that is what makes Liberty unique,” Tenney said. “We’re so big, yet we still operate like a family. I’m thankful that the leaders of this university lifted up people like Isabel and the victims of this.”

Tenney said both she and Isabel Bodrog attended a “celebration of life” service for Martin Bodrog Saturday, Sept. 21 at the Bodrog’s home church in Washington.
“It was beautiful and touching,” Tenney said. “Mr. Bodrog was an amazing man.”

Meghan Kohler, a current Liberty student, is adjusting to the thought of life without her father.

“It’s been really hard thinking about all the things that I’m going to miss out on doing with my dad, but God has really given me a peace I didn’t think was possible to have in a situation like this,” Meghan Kohler said. “I know God has a plan to use this for something great.”

According to Meghan Kohler, her whole family has felt encouragment from friends and from the university.

“Some of my friends came down for the life celebration for my dad this weekend, and I’ve had so many people texting me and messaging me saying that they are praying for me,” Meghan Kohler said. “They have all sent me so many encouraging Bible verses that have really helped. Also, in Convocation, I know that everyone prayed for my sister, my mother and me, which is really encouraging.”

As those close to the victims of the shooting mourned, Tenney reflected on how the incident affected her views on gun control.

“It has changed my views a lot,” Tenney said. “I used to honestly think everyone should have a gun … Now I think the process should be a lot more challenging to acquire weapons.”

According to CNN, Alexis’ motives are still a mystery because he did not survive, but people have begun to speculate about what may have led up to this event.

Alexis was known to have psychological problems and heard voices in his head, a CNN report said.

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