Not many families of high-profile mass shooters do interviews with the media. Many release carefully-worded statements of sorrow and regret and then retreat from public scrutiny.
But some families do agree to speak to reporters, sometimes months or sometimes years after the killings. Here are four examples.
1) Peter Rodger, the father of Elliot Rodger, who killed six people and injured 13 more in May 2014 near Santa Barbara, Calif., gave Barbara Walters of ABC’s “20/20” an interview in late June.
Some highlights: “Every night, I go to sleep, I wake up and I think of those young men and young women that have died and who are injured and who were terrorized and my son did that. It’s like a reverse nightmare situation.” And in response to his son’s rage over being rejected by young women: “I would say to him, ‘There is no shame at all in not losing your virginity at a later age.'”
2) Naomi Alexis, sister to Aaron Alexis, who killed 12 people and injured five others on Sept. 16, 2013 at the Washington Navy Yard, agreed to speak with The Washington Post in a series of brief emails, texts, and phone calls early this month.
Some highlights: “I’ve had people stop returning emails, phone calls once they Googled my name.” And: “The grief I feel for [the victims’] suffering is palpable. The guilt, at times, paralyzing.”
3) Peter Lanza, the father of Adam Lanza, who killed his mother and 26 students and educators in December 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., gave an exclusive interview to Andrew Solomon in The New Yorker.
Some highlights: “I want people to be afraid of the fact that this could happen to them.” And: “I get very defensive with my name. I do not like to even say it. I thought about changing it, but I feel like that would be distancing myself and I cannot distance myself. I don’t let it define me, but I felt like changing the name is sort of pretending it didn’t happen and that’s not right.”
4) Tom and Susan Klebold, the parents of Dylan Klebold, who with Eric Harris killed 12 students and one teacher and injured many more at Columbine High School in 1999, reached out to New York Times columnist David Brooks five years after the rampage.
Some highlights: “”Dylan did not do this because of the way he was raised,” Susan said. ”He did it in contradiction to the way he was raised.” And: “There is a moment of discomfort when they hand over a credit card at a store, but there have been few bad scenes. One clerk looked at the name and remarked to Susan, ‘Boy, you’re a survivor, aren’t you.'”
In 2009, Susan Klebold penned an essay for O Magazine.
Some highlights: “With every moment that passed, the likelihood of seeing Dylan as I knew him diminished. I asked the police over and over, ‘What’s happening? Where’s Dylan? Is he okay?'” And: “Through all of this, I felt extreme humiliation. For months I refused to use my last name in public. I avoided eye contact when I walked. Dylan was a product of my life’s work, but his final actions implied that he had never been taught the fundamentals of right and wrong. There was no way to atone for my son’s behavior.”