'I'm just grateful, so grateful': South Medford School District parents respond to averted mass shooting

On Friday, one day after Medford Police announced that 24-year-old Kristopher Clay had surrendered to officers for steps toward carrying out a mass shooting, NewsWatch 12 reached out to several parents and families in the area about their reaction to the news.

Posted: Aug 6, 2021 7:14 PM
Updated: Aug 7, 2021 1:43 PM

MEDFORD, Ore-- While students inside South Medford School moved about the building this summer, jumping from classroom to classroom, 24-year-old Kristopher Clay was contemplating on taking significant steps toward carrying out a mass shooting. Thankfully Clay decided to surrender to Medford Police.

On July 20, 24-year-old Kristopher Clay came into the Medford Police Department lobby and requested to speak with an officer. MPD said that Clay told the officer he was having "homicidal thoughts" and had plans to follow through with them.

Medford Police say that Clay had these 'thoughts' for quite some time but do not know when his exact plans began.

On Friday, NewsWatch 12 reached out to several parents and families living near the high school on the significance of an event like a mass shooting even being contemplated by an individual.

"It's unnerving to say the least," said Bryan Goodrich, a father who's step-daughter will be attending South Medford High School this fall. "It's already bad enough to hear this type of story on the news far away.  It's tragic, but when its literally across the street from your house it hits a little bit closer to home."

Other parents and community members surrounding the high school felt the same way. All of the individuals that NewsWatch 12 spoke to, saying that they never imagined an individual would consider going through with a mass shooting at South Medford High School and in their community.

Kimberly Armstrong, a mother of two daughters who attend South Medford High School, lives just across the street from the high school. Like many others , Armstrong said she was shocked when she heard the news break, but was just thankful that Clay decided to not go through with his plan.

"I'm grateful, so grateful," said Armstrong. "I have two precious lives over there."

"I knew it was a possibility, but I never thought it would happen here," said June Woster, a junior at South Medford High School.

Police have stated that Clay was not legally allowed to own guns because of a court order, citing mental illness. This is why Goodrich says this case is an example of why its so important to get people the mental health services they need.

"I think being able to prevent something like this from happening with proper mental health care is going to be important," said Goodrich. "There have been countless school shootings and shootings at malls and movie theatres. How many of these events could have been prevented with proper mental health care."

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