Sandy Hook shootings spur Seattle Jewish federation victim to speak up for gun control


VANCOUVER, Canada (JTA) — Cheryl Stumbo, a victim in the 2006 Seattle Jewish federation shootings, has begun advocating for stricter gun control following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newtown, Conn.

After years of mass shootings, Stumbo decided to use her personal experience to fight the American gun lobby by telling her story, she told the Seattle Times in an interview published on Sunday. She said she believes the more visible gun violence victims are, the quicker public opinion will shift.

“Victims of gun violence are walking around every day,” Stumbo, 50, told the Times. “You know someone, or they know someone who was shot or had a gun held to their heads."

Stumbo, who is not Jewish, said it took her six years of therapy to feel comfortable speaking publicly about the event, but after 20 elementary students and six school staffers were killed in the Newtown shootings, she decided it was time to speak.

“When Newtown happened, I had made the decision that I was going to do something about this,” Stumbo said. “I was going to use my personal perspective to help people understand."

Stumbo, who worked as the marketing director for the Jewish federation,  also was interviewed by local Seattle news channel King 5, an NBC affiliate.

The shooting at the Seattle Jewish federation took place on July 28, 2006, on a late Friday afternoon. Much of the staff had left to prepare for Shabbat, Stumbo said, when she stepped out of her office into the hallway and found herself staring down the barrel of a gun. The gunman, Naveed Afzal Haq, shot Stumbo in the rib cage with a hollow-point bullet.

The shooting resulted in beefed-up security at Jewish institutions around the United States.

Stumbo was one of six women who was shot. Pam Waechter, 58, the director of annual giving at the federation, was killed.

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