16 Years Since Tragic Rocori High School Shooting
On Wednesday, September 24, 2003 Rocori High School went into 'code red' mode. Students had to put into practice what they had learned in their emergency drills. There was an active shooter in the building.
For over 45 minutes, students feared for their lives--hiding anywhere they could in hopes they wouldn't be found. Little did they know at the time that the shooter was a fellow classmate of theirs, freshman John McLaughlin.
McLaughlin shot and killed two students at Rocori High School that day, 17-year-old Aaron Rollins and 14-year-old Seth Bartell. Two students lost their lives because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. All they did was show up to school.
In a 2013 article by the St. Cloud Times, former Cold Spring Mayor Doug Schmitz mentioned that some members of the community were frustrated that this tragedy has damaged the reputation of their community.
He asked that the community continue to move forward but also never forget.
Sixteen years have passed since the tragic events that unfolded that day. Several people have turned to social media with memories and thoughts to share.
Kelly Sayre remembers, "My sister was a senior at ROCORI at the time. Thankfully, she was at the local technical college that morning."
Kieren Steinhoff writes, "16 years ago today, two students were shot and killed at the high school where I had just spend 4 years feeling safe. This week, my own children are doing lockdown drills. My kids, the kids of ROCORI and everyone else's kids deserve better."
Today, we move forward but we will never forget the fear that was felt so deeply by the students, staff, families, faculty and the community. We will also never forget Aaron Rollins and Seth Bartell and the legacy they left behind. Please join me in taking a moment of silence today to remember the two students who lost their lives.Several members of the community have shared their thoughts on social media.