Mass shootings bring back painful memories for local survivor


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The pain, confusion and heartbreak people are feeling right now in Texas and Ohio are emotions some here in Knoxville, sadly, know all too well.

Back in 2008, shots rang out at Knoxville’s Unitarian Universalist church.

WATE 6 On Your Side reporter Elizabeth Kuebel spoke to one of the survivors of that shooting, who told us she remembers everything from that day in July 2008: What she saw, what she heard even what she smelled.

And when mass shootings like those in El Paso or Dayton happen, all of those memories and emotions come flooding back.

“I saw someone holding a rifle shooting at people that I loved. And it made no sense whatsoever,” said Amy Broyles.

Broyles was at her church in 2008 when shots rang out. She was there with her family and three daughters to watch a youth group’s musical.

She’s reminded of what happened that day every time another mass shooting takes place.

“All the memories and the emotions and what we experienced that day and in the aftermath. It all comes back up every time,” she said.

This weekend – two more. A gunman opened fire in an El Paso, Texas Walmart. Hours later, shots fired at a popular nightlife area in Dayton, Ohio.

“You feel like something just knocks the wind out of you and you can’t breath for a minute. And sometimes I cry, and I almost always call my husband and say there’s been another one,” said Broyles.

It’s something she says keeps happening more and more often. And for the victims and survivors in the two most recent incidents, Broyles is reminding them to hold on to the light in a time of darkness.

“There are people who are going to want to help you. Let them,” she said.

All of Broyles’ immediate family inside the church were ok. Two people were killed in that 2008 shooting and seven were injured.

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