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Families with Valley connections demand action from lawmakers after losing kids in 2012 shootings

Alex Teves Jesse Lewis.png
Posted at 5:04 PM, May 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-25 21:12:40-04

PHOENIX — Two families with connections to the Valley each lost one son in two separate shootings, happening months apart, in different states.

Now, they're demanding lawmakers step up following the recent shooting in Texas.

Chilling video still lives on the internet, showing people scrambling and running for their lives in Colorado on July 20, 2012.

“Someone came into a theater and blew my son’s head off. That makes no sense. Tell me what world we live in where that’s okay,” said Tom Teves.

Tom Teves lost his son, Alex who was 24 years old, in the 2012 Aurora theater shooting.

He tells ABC15 that Alex gave his life to save his girlfriend.

“It literally never leaves you,” he said, as he thought of the constant pain he and his family live with every single day.

12 people died. 70 others were injured.

Then, five months later, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting happened, on December 14, 2012.

26 people were killed. 20 of them were children.

“The pain will bring you to your knees, almost on a daily basis,” said Scarlett Lewis, who lost her son in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.

Lewis’ 6-year-old son, Jesse, died a hero.

“When the gunman came into his third-grade classroom, shooting, and his gun ran out of bullets, Jesse had the courage to yell to his friends to run. He was able to save nine of his classmates' lives,” she said.

Now, they share this unbearable pain with more parents and families, following the Buffalo supermarket shooting, the California church shooting, and recently the elementary school shooting in Texas.

“It is like a part of you is gone and you know, initially you don’t know if you’re going to survive,” said Lewis.

Both parents are now calling on senators to make a change.

“Do something. You’re letting children die. It’s not okay. It’s not well, I have a right to a weapon. You know what, if you’re nuts you don’t have a right to a weapon, and we better figure that out,” said Teves.

Lewis created the Choose Love Movement and travels across the nation, including to Arizona, to spread awareness of the importance of relationship building, emotional management and coping skills.

“He wrote on our kitchen chalkboard shortly before he died, nurturing healing love. If the shooter had been able to give and receive nurturing, healing love, the tragedy would have never happened,” said Lewis.

The Teves family made the ACT Foundation, an educational scholarship program, honoring Alex’s life. They also created a website called No Notoriety, asking for shootings not to be glorified.

“I want this to stop. I want parents to not be me, because it’s not great,” said Teves.