MEDFORD, Ore. —The dust has settled at the Rogue Valley Mall after a chaotic Saturday night shooting, and now the Children’s Advocacy Center of Jackson County is offering advice to parents about how to help their children through the traumatic event.
What was supposed to be a night filled with fun at the fair, quickly turned to panic and chaos after gunshots were fired. Now just a few days later, families are coping with the devastation they saw.
“His voice sounded very frantic like he couldn’t even put a sentence together, he just kept saying Eleyda, Eleyda, Eleyda and I noticed there was something in his voice when I knew something was wrong,” said White City, resident Eleyda Ruiz Cabrera.
Ruiz Cabrera was at home while her husband and two daughters were at the carnival. When her husband called her in a panic Saturday night, she assumed the worst.
“He says we’re trying to get away, there’s a shooting happening were are trying to get to the car and I said are you serious, I didn’t even know what to say I was in shock,” said Ruiz Cabrera.
Fortunately, her family was able to escape the terror and made it home safely. Her 12 and 7-year-old daughters, recounted the scary incident to their mom. The next day, she could tell one of her daughters was not acting like herself.
“She just burst into tears and she’s never cried the way she cried, all she kept saying was I kept replaying everything that happened at the carnival,” said Ruiz Cabrera.
The Children’s Advocacy Center provides services to children who have experienced abuse or witnessed a violent crime. Executive director Tammi Pitzen says it’s normal for children to struggle after seeing something like this. The advice she has is not to ignore the problem and think it will go away.
“The best thing that a parent can do is to help their child feel safe, you can do that by talking to them, by talking to them about their feelings, what happened you can get them into therapy, I would think therapy would be the best place to start,” said Pitzen.
While Saturday night was a moment that will stay with Ruiz Cabrera’s children forever, she’s just thankful her family all came home that night.
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