Freeman, Wash. (KHQ) – In the days following a school shooting at Freeman High School in Freeman, Washington Wednesday that left one person dead and three people injured, we are learning more about the student who was killed.
Anna Strahan, the cousin of Sam Strahan, who was shot after he confronted the accused shooter, released a statement on behalf of the Strahan family.
In the statement Anna writes that Sam was a beloved member of the family and the community, and says the cause of his death is “bigger than a mental health or bullying issue,” and that warning signs about potential shooters need to be taken seriously.
The full statement is as follows:
In the face of tragedy, Samuel David Strahan ran towards the shooter instead of away. He died in a moment of bravery and selflessness. Sam is my hero.
Sam had a great sense of humor, loved his cat Bella dearly, and enjoyed playing video games. When I was visiting over the summer, he was excited to tell me how great he was at playing Minecraft. I would hear him downstairs laughing with his friends on Xbox live. It made me smile hearing him joke around with friends despite the tragedy of his father’s recent passing on Father’s Day. Growing up, Sam was always excited to participate in my whimsical camps and games. He excelled at chess and became our grandfather’s frequent rival. His life was cut too short. I hoped we would grow old together, keeping family traditions alive and marking milestones together.
Sam was a beloved member of our family and community. He was an active member of the community, volunteering at Generation Alive and serving as a member of the Boy Scouts of America where his father was the troop leader.
Every child should return home from school at the end of the day. School shootings should not be the norm. They should not happen — period. The cause of Sam’s death is bigger than a mental health or bullying issue. We need to stop blaming bullying or “violent video games”. The reality is that kids being bullied have access to unsecured firearms and in return are committing devastating acts due to their untreated mental health issues. This incident was preventable. Sam is gone because another teen with mental health issues had the tools to carry out this horrific event.
We need to take the warning signs of potential shooters seriously. When a child is bullied or suicidal they should not have easy access to lethal weapons. How many more Sams have to be sacrificed before we can finally have a serious conversation about gun control? It’s time to stop wringing our hands and start coming to terms with the reality that our lack of gun control in this country is failing our children. A school should be a safe place — not a battle ground statistic for a war we continue to lose through our collective complacency.
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