Kids, Social

Texts from my son during the Arapahoe shooting

I’ll have much, much more to say on this as I become cognizant of just what this has done to me, but I thought some people might be interested in the string of texts my son Ian and I sent back and forth during the Arapahoe shooting on Friday. I’ve Photoshopped it into one long screen so it’s easier to read.




165 thoughts on “Texts from my son during the Arapahoe shooting

  1. Deborah says:

    Thank you for sharing. Excuse any type-o’s as I’m writing through tears. This says so much about parents, about fathers, about our messed-up country. My kids are young and I worry every day about the near future when they’re teens. You give me hope.

    • Yes, he’s type-1 diabetic and has been since he was 5. I realized after I had him home that I could have skipped the entire line to get to him sooner, using the diabetes and lack of test strips as a reason but I honestly didn’t even think of it. I was just so happy he was safe and I was trying to process everything that had been happening.

      • This is my biggest fear as well. My local school has been on lock down a couple of times for various events, and two of my children are also Type-1 Diabetic. I am sure the stress of this situation did not help his blood sugar levels.

  2. jt says:

    I graduated from AHS in 93. Such a tragedy at a great school. But there’s upside. As long as there are parents like you Kevin, there’s far more goodness and hope… Still a proud AHS Warrior after all these years.

  3. I am so impressed with the wisdom you showed in not panicking, and how sensitive of your boy to realise you needed to know everything he knew. I am so sorry you had this experience. I have included a link at the bottom of this comment to the story of what happened to my family on September 11, 2001, in New York City. Sometimes just writing things out completely can help so much with processing. I sincerely wish you a full recovery from this terrible experience.

  4. Chris Alford says:

    He’s such a brave boy and you were brave for him, as you should have been. Incredibly difficult situation. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. Wow, that was rough says:

    I gotta admit when you said “I am here and will be here until I have you” I almost teared up a bit, can’t imagine what its like to worry about your kid like that. You are a good man.

  8. aggiezoe says:

    Instantly, I’ve changed my stance on letting my kids take a cell phone to school. Big love to your son, his school, and you.

  9. Michelle McFalls says:

    I don’t cry often or easily ….. Your story brings tears …. Thank you so much for sharing. What a wonderful father and son. ProudToBeColoradan …. This has got to STOP! Much love to your family!

  10. Raj says:

    As a father of two school aged boys..”I’m here and will be here…until I have you”…was beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time..this bourght me to tears. Glad there are men like you Kevin…thanks for sharing.

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  12. Nicole says:

    Wow that was super emotional for me and I just found this on Facebook. Thank you for sharing. So glad that you and your loved ones are okay. Prayers for y’all, the victims, and all of those involved.

  13. Crystal Torman says:

    As many have already stated you are a fantastic father. I am also very proud of your son. To actually send a text every view minutes to let you know he is okay is thoughtful, mature and impressive. i am happy to hear you’re together and safe.

  14. WOW!!! Thank you so much for sharing this. This string of texts makes it very real. It gives the situation a face and a name and a relationship. I’m so happy your son is okay, Kevin. I’ll be interested to hear more from you as your mind attempts to wrap itself around what happened. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from a Michigan mom.

  15. Jennifer says:

    Thank you for sharing. Across the country and wondering what it’s going to take to make this stop. This is not acceptable. School is the last place a child should die. Period.

  16. So glad you had a happy ending! This is just such a crazy situation that is happening far too often! Thanks for sharing your story and our prayers are with the school, all the families and the two wounded.

  17. Matt says:

    This is a chilling read. I’m very glad your son is OK. My son was also on lockdown after a recent school shooting (at a nearby college)–we didn’t know until everything was over and kids were safe. But still, just being outside not being able to see the kids was incredibly stressful.

  18. Debbie says:

    So glad you are both okay. Thank goodness for texting. The thought of going through this is emotional, I can’t imagine really living it. Wishing you a good life.

  19. 2 things- I am very glad you are a rockstar parent and your son is ok. Plus I am very glad you are a rockstar parent and text your kid FFS like I do- thank you for not letting me be the only one!

  20. The joy of being able to post that picture of the two of you together at the end of the day must have been overwhelming. Grateful you were able to reunite on such a terrible day. Thank you for sharing!

  21. So many onions. This is my worst nightmare. My daughter was in first grade last year when Sandy Hook happened. Having a child go through that is beyond horrifying, Good job keeping it together. He’s lucky to have you as a dad.

  22. Cori says:

    Sounds like you’re an awesome and loving dad and you have a great son. There should never be a situation like this…sad. I’m really glad he’s safe and thanks for sharing. I’m going to give my kids extra hugs today.

  23. Jokapeci Kurabui says:

    Thank you Kevin for sharing. It was awesome reading thru the stressful event – I felt as if I was actually in it as well. It was warming to see how well you understood each other – so close – and it all comes down to what a great DAD you are – that showed thru in how calm your son was when faced with this situation. I respect you for your calmness, your understanding and sound mind.

  24. Heather Tut says:

    Such a typical text conversation during such a horrible situation. It brought tears to my eyes as I put myself in your place at the BK. Thanks for sharing.

  25. Sharon says:

    As a parent, I can not imagine what you must have been going through! Thank you for sharing. I am so glad that your boy is okay. What a heartbreaking world that we live in today, where we can not even send our children to school without worrying whether or not they will be okay. I often think of what I would do if something like this were to happen to my family and I hope that I would be as strong as you were, I know you must have been a wreck on the inside. Love the picture of the two of you reunited! Looks like his dad!

  26. Julie says:

    You did an incredible job keeping calm and composed. They’ll never be accurate words to describe how sorry I am that you and your son had to go through this, but for what it’s worth I’m sorry and so very glad that he’s well.

  27. linda buzogany says:

    Hello fellow T1 dad…I live in Littleton also. Very very sweet exchange. I’m sure I would have been asking about the kit too. Glad our kids are fine, wish they all were.

  28. Kevin, I’m sure every parent reading this will also well up with tears. I have to take a moment, it is so powerful and touching to read. The love you two have for each other shines through the fear.Thank you for sharing your intimate exchanges. It touches us and lifts us through the tragedy.

  29. You are awesome and this is such a great example of being right where we need to be with teens and technology and parenting. But more importantly, sending love to you all as you recover. xo

  30. Joni says:

    Found you through a story on the web. This is heart wrenching and glorious. I have 2 sons and we talk about if something like this should happen. In fact, the school has a program called :Rachel’s Challenge” to address issues like this. Sad that we have to talk about that with our kids. More sad that you had to go through it for real. I am so happy to know that you were reunited with your son and you are both good now. Hug him tight every single day.

  31. I think I was holding my breath the entire time I was reading.
    Although I was doing the ugly cry at the same time. I felt the love from you in those texts and the worry. My son, is also Type 1 and on top of all else worrying about his blood sugar must have been so overwhelming. Thank you so much for sharing these texts. Thinking about you and your family as you all struggle with what has happened.

  32. Michael Hatfield says:

    You know, I am not a big fan of ‘selfies’, but the one at the end of your blog warmed my heart. I cannot, nor do I ever want to imagine what it was like for you as a father. Suffice to say, I am really glad that everyone is OK.

    Extra hugs from now on huh?

  33. Reblogged this on Queer Landia and commented:
    If you haven’t heard, there was another school shooting in Colorado last week, the evening before the anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy. This is an eerie account of the shooting through the eyes of a parent, texting his son who was at school.

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  35. michaelwhatfield says:

    Thanks for sharing that. I am not a big fan of ‘selfies’, but the one of you two at the end of the blog warmed my heart, I would have like it even you guys did a duck face!!

    Glad all is OK.

    Extra hugs from now on huh?

  36. Kellen says:

    Thank you for sharing this. It is very impactful. As a parent, the texts are hard to read when I project myself into your place. As a human being and an American, I’m sorry our idiocy about guns has put you and your son through this. And so many other families through worse. Best wishes for normalcy from here on in.

  37. PixelFish says:

    Glad your family had a happy ending. I bet that was nerve-wracking and exhausting. I hope the kids get all the support the community can give them.

  38. My daughter was dx’d with T1 when she was 2. She’s 10 now…this left a lump in my throat. So glad he was okay and diabetes didn’t complicate anything on top of the chaos he was caught in the middle of!!!

  39. Sue says:

    I commend you both for keeping your cool. I cannot imagine the feelings of fear going through both of your hearts & minds during those texts.

  40. gzuzfreex says:

    Your son is diabetic? I’m guessing that’s what you meant by test kit and strips. Our daughter is 16yo Type 1. Having that to worry about on top of lockdown would be beyond the beyond for me. I’m glad you were reunited safely.

  41. mona says:

    my heart was pounding reading this …i know the feeling of anxiety and helplessness when your child is in danger…thank you God your son is Safe with you.

  42. I got an extra sense of urgency reading this due to the state of the battery icon in your screenshot.

    I commend you as a father, and as a human being. Letting your son know that you were there, and that you appreciated his status updates.

  43. Carol Mathews says:

    I love reading all the love. I’m sorry for what your son went through–what you went through. But I love how much love there was in these texts. God bless you both.

  44. brian says:

    Thanks for sharing, as a young father of 3 young kids I can only imagine the fear /panic. This definitely made me tear up. I’m glad he’s OK

  45. This was wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing so we were able to get some insight into how someone must feel in a situation like that. I can only imagine what both you and your son were going through.

    So glad to hear he was okay and that all went well on your end.

  46. Christine Myers says:

    I simply don’t have words. God Bless you all. Thank you for sharing. The remarkable calm that you both showed during this while still being able to tell each other so clearly how much you both were loved… amazing.

  47. Sorry, can’t see through the tears. I could feel the fear and emotion in every single word. My biggest fear is something happening to one of my kids. God bless you and your son! He’s lucky to have you!!!

  48. John Kelly says:

    What a great kid, SMSing “I’m OK” like clockwork. A lot of people, not just teens, would lose track of time and everything else in a situation like that.

  49. John says:

    Thank you soo much for sharing. This really gave me chills on my spine and tears in my eyes with anger and joy at the same time. Im sorry you and your son had to go thru this as well as all the students that went thru it. Thank you so much for being the right dad and leading your son 1000% and being there for him. You guys have greatness within you and God bless you. Thank you so much for making me feel how i feel right now.

  50. ashley says:

    Thank you for sharing this. It gave me chills and brought me to tears. I am glad you were both reunited and many blessings to both of you.

  51. Jeremy Thomas says:

    I don’t know you or your family at all, just saw this on CNN. I wanted to say thank you for being such a great dad to your son. My dad was never there for me and still isn’t. Much respect for men like you!

  52. Jillian says:

    Thank you for sharing this. My 6 year old is type 1 also and has been since 18 months old. Very proud of you and your son! I am glad diabetes worked well til you had him in your arms. I lived how he kept telling you he was okay

  53. Vicki says:

    Bless, darlin’. So sorry you had to go through that. So glad you’re both okay. I agree with the rest that you’ve got a pretty amazing kid.

  54. David Crozier says:

    No parent should have to go through this, ever. Must have been a rough time, cant image the stress you were both under. Thanks for sharing.

  55. Phill says:

    Now that’s it’s all over, – everyone safe and sound, what a great life story. Very touching to most of us who have kids. When you mispelled ‘church’, I could only imagine your fear and anxiety as you typed the text whilst moving as fast as you can to complete the most important mission in your life. We just never know how our day is going to end. Your texts are a touching story as it unfolds to grateful selfies on the couch.

    Lucky for us Australians, these type of school shootings are basically unheard of. Our last was from a mentally impaired Hong Kong student over a decade ago.

  56. lisa treese says:

    Glad everyone is home safe! Thanks for writing this….I think I need to have a talk with my sons school……in case of there being a lock down….zach’s meter and supplies are in nurses room! We need to revisit this!

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  58. Kasie says:

    As a 31 year old, I often think “aah parents” because mine as STILL over-protective…but that was truly beautiful. I also think that it is a true testament to you and your son’s relationship that he texted you every five minutes on the dot as promised. Thank you so sharing… beautiful…

  59. Michele says:

    I am so….so deeply sorry for what you and your son endured. I pray that you are able to process through this, and get support.

  60. Natalie says:

    Wow. You and your son are simply beautiful. I’m 43 and have been type 1 since age 11. I love the way you communicated and assured him that you were there for him. Thank you for sharing this.

  61. amy says:

    We are LPS and our kid is type 1 too, we were at our school door during the whole lock out with the test kit ready. Glad you are all safe. Glad to know how you got through.

  62. Toni McGowan says:

    Having just traded similar texts with a friend at the Navy Yard, as a parent I cannot imagine the 2+ hours of terror you experienced. Very thankful for your happy ending and for the reminder to tell those around us how much they mean to us.

  63. Tony says:

    May God keep you and your son safe.. Bravo on the cool head your son kept, you seem to have lost it in the end… but thats ok. I would probably have done worse. Thanks for sharing and be safe.

  64. Thank you for sharing. The added dimension of Type 1 must have been a challenge for both of you. Thankfully with mine I’ve never had to manage it in such a stressful circumstance.

    You’re both a credit to your family and the Arapahoe

  65. Tammy says:

    So happy to hear that your boy made it out safely. Such a sad day living with the daily fear in our heads and hearts about sending our children to school. We once assumed it was the second safest place, the first being home.

  66. islmablog says:

    Hit close to home to me. One more reason for me to want my 10 year old daughter with Type I to keep her supplies with her instead of in the nurse’s office. So glad you shared this and glad your son is safe and sound.

  67. Helpless and afraid says:

    Thank you for sharing your triumph over this horrid event. I am appalled and heartbroken that our country is so full of violence such as this, and I pray and hope for a way to make these incidents STOP! Thankful your sons school had protocol and this situation was dissolved very quickly, but we shouldn’t have to have protocols for this! I am so discouraged for the state of our once peaceful and beautiful America, now we seem to be entering into accepting these things as norm, hence schools implementing protocols. It makes me sick and terrified for our children. Thank the good Lord that you are obviously an outstanding father and I praise you for raising such a wonderful young man, I pray for healing for you all, and for everyone involved. God bless.

  68. ionejtorrento says:

    I got pretty choked up when you wrote you’d be there until he’s with you. I’m a dad and that hits close to home. christ I’m tearing up again just writing it. Glad your boy is okay.

  69. Meredith says:

    This was deeply moving to read as a first-time expectant mom. So sorry you guys had to go through this trauma–I’m so glad that your son is safe.

  70. Brian says:

    Being a father of three, I read each post and man…….I cannot imagine that feeling. Thank you for sharing and so glad your boy is safe. Merry Christmas!

  71. Joel Idelson says:

    I can’t imagine the feeling in your gut. heart wrenching to say the least when you can’t be there to make sure he is safe. Thanks for sharing. You are a good dad.

  72. Wow. As an ex-high school teacher, I felt like we were always going through drills to prepare for situations like this. But actually reading through this made me realize there’s no way you can ever be ready to deal with something like a shooting. I’m so glad your son is safe.

  73. Dawn says:

    Thank you for sharing this with the public. I was moved to tears thinking of my own sons. When you wrote “I’ll be here until I have you”…heart-wrenching and beautiful words. I am looking forward to reading your follow up post once you’ve processed and are able to put words to it all. Thankful your son is safe in his dad’s care.

  74. Steve says:

    As a dad of a 16y/o Type 1 kid, I totally appreciated the text about having his kit.
    Thankfully never been in the same situation, but in countless others much less serious where I’ve texted “do you have your test kit?”

  75. Thanks for writing this, Kevin. The moment I saw the part about “test strips” I knew we were kindred spirits. My 4-year-old son has type 1 diabetes. I can only imagine the extra level of stress that must’ve put on an already stressful situation. God bless you and your family.

  76. JGuest says:

    Seeing you with your boy at the end brought me to tears. So glad he is safe and so sorry anyone ever has to go through something like this.

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  78. Thanks for sharing the texts. My niece’s children attend Shepherd of the Hills School, so we heard it was used as a pickup point. We are glad a safe place was available for you to reconnect with each other.

  79. Lori says:

    This gives a tiny glimpse into what you must have been feeling. My boy is about the same age, and I cannot imagine the spectrum of emotions you must have had in that 2 1/2 hours. Thank God you had some way to communicate with him.

  80. So thankful your son is okay. This moved me more than anything I have ever seen on FB before. Just the thought of having that text conversation with one of my boys terrifies me. I hope you will be okay too. Thank you for sharing this. Love to you and your family.

  81. Parenting: you’re doing it right. This makes me wonder how I’d react if something like this happened to one of my children. I hope I’d have the presence of mind to respond as you did. I’m glad your son is alright and you were reunited safely.

  82. Kati Grabham says:

    You were so calm and reassuring. You and Ian were both so amazing during this awful time. Thank you for sharing such a personal time.

  83. Chris Budd says:

    I was perfectly fine reading it until the end when I saw your picture and it hit me hard.. Too many of these things end the way they shouldn’t. Being a father myself I could not imagine what this had to have been like for you. So glad your son is safe!

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  85. Thank you for posting this. I’m so glad your son is safe.
    Not that it matters but I went to his school; and my senior year was when Columbine happened. My heart sank when I heard of this happening (I’m currently in Texas, all of my family is there, my niece goes to goddard) I could never imagine how your son felt; and how much worry your had.
    Sorry to spill all of my thoughts on your blog, but I wanted to let you know that this made me so happy i cried a little.
    Thank you again.

  86. wow says:

    WOW! What an incredible son you have, he must get it from his dad! Thank you for sharing these texts, to see how much you two care and respect each other was just inspiring. To be so calm while there is such panic in your heart is amazing. I’m am truly thankful your son is safe and back with his family.

  87. Denise says:

    OMG I couldn’t even imagine, my oldest 3 children are all grown but I have a special needs 7 year old Autistic Son you kept your cool better than I did just reading the texts. I live in Puna Hawaii I didn’t seem to see this on the news you must have wanted to BUST in the school and grab your son causing all kinds of an unorganized mess. Glad u didn’t, glad u kept your cool SUPER GLAD TO SEE THE PIC OF YOU AND YOUR BOY RELAXING AND ENJOYING EACHOTHER. SURE MAKE ONE THINK…. JUST HOW LUCKY YOU TWO ARE. PEACE AND LOVE TO YOU BOTH I AM GOING TO GO HUG MY BOY RIGHT NOW.

  88. Wendy says:

    Thank you for sharing this string of texts. I welled up with tears at your response to your son telling you he was sorry. I had a similar chain of texts with my daughter when I found out her school was on lock down, not by the school, but by the news. Fortunately, no one was hurt in that instance. I love how teens always seem so nonchalant in their text responses “yeah” but clearly he appreciated your being there to communicate with him. I especially love that Ian is wearing a Ramones shirt in the picture – making me positive that you are an AWESOME dad!

  89. Thank you so much for sharing this. Made me tear up! The relationship you develop with your kids is so important. I’m very close to my parents, as well. Can’t imagine them not being in my life!

  90. Can’t imagine. The raw honesty and emotion from both of you made me cry. So glad he returned home. Wishing him (and you) comfort following the traumatic experience.

  91. Ellie says:

    What’s a ‘while’ thing, lol?

    Anyway I saw your reddit comments. I think these are just internet cowards for the most part, sad, sad little boys. It’s still nice to see them be made a fool of though, whic you did

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