Jerri Jackson, who lost her son in the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting, offers comfort to Dayton and Springfield community after the Oregon District shooting. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Springfield mother who lost son in Colorado mass shooting wants to help Dayton

A Springfield mother knew she needed to be in Dayton hours after a mass shooting to reach out to families and residents impacted by the tragedy.

And that’s because she was in the same position they are in now seven years ago when she learned her son was killed in the Aurora, Colo. theater shooting.

Jerri Jackson, the mother of Matt McQuinn, and her son, McQuinn’s brother, attended the vigil Sunday night and offered support. The vigil was organized by the city of Dayton following a mass shooting in the city’s Oregon District that killed nine and injured nearly 40 more.

Springfield resident Derrick Fudge, 57, and Springfield native Monica Brickhouse, 39, were killed in the attack.

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“After it was over we mingled in the crowd. My son was a little ahead of me and when I caught up he was hugging a young man. That young man just sobbed. He just fell apart,” she said.

Jackson said she found a young woman with tears in her eyes she tried to comfort too.

“I felt the need to be with those that were experiencing what I did,” she said. “Even though it was a different situation, it was still a mass shooting and they were hurting.”

She’ll never get over McQuinn’s death and the regularity of mass shootings continue to bring up heartbreaking memories for her. Whenever she hears the news of a shooting, her mind begins to race.

“It brings back getting a visit from the sheriff. Then hearing that he was shot and wanting to get to him as quick as I can but being so far away I had to wait,” she said. “It brings that all up. It brings to mind the parents. As a parent myself that lost a child, I think of them and the pain they are going to be going through.”

Her advice to loved ones suffering is to grieve the way you want.

“Just take care of yourself. Don’t try to do more than you can and it’s on your own terms,” she said. “Everyone mourns differently. Just do what is best for you.”

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As for stopping the mass shootings, Jackson wishes she knew the secret formula. Addressing mental health issues and creating a kinder, more understanding society would be a good start, she says.

“I feel like people are just getting numb to it. Where’s the next one going to be? When is it going to end?”

The Springfield News-Sun continued to learn more about the Springfield victims Wednesday. Fudge’s funeral arguments have been set. Services will be held Saturday at St. John Missionary Baptist Church, 34 W. Pleasant St. in Springfield.

The viewing will be at 11 a.m. and the service will be at noon.

The sister of Fudge said she last saw her brother alive at the CJ Brown Reservoir Saturday.

Twyla Southall told CNN’s Don Lemon that she had an opportunity to sit down and talk with him before he was murdered.

“We were having a family cookout, reunion,” she told CNN in an interview with Don Lemon.

“Many from Springfield were there. It was a beautiful day,” she said.

She said Fudge had plans to paint his granddaughter’s bedroom for her upcoming birthday and he was upbeat about his life.

“It was good to see him on the upswing and happy about life,” Southall said. “I didn’t know that that was the last time I’d see him alive, I would have probably stayed a little longer and talked with him, but I am glad that is the memory I do have with him and it’s a good memory.”

Southall spoke to the Springfield News-Sun just hours after the shooting and told the newspaper Fudge was a good person.

Funeral arrangements were previously announced for Brickhouse. A visitation will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday followed by services 4 p.m. at Greater Grace Temple, 380 W. Leffel Lane, Springfield. Arrangements are by Newcomer Funeral Home, North Chapel, in Dayton.

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