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One week later: Survivor of Jacksonville massacre reflects on Colorado shooting

10:48 PM, Jul 26, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- 22 years ago, James Pough walked in to General Motors Acceptance Corporation and killed 9 people before killing himself.

Many of the survivors of the shooting are still in touch, and say every time there's another mass shooting, like the one in Colorado, it brings up memories of June 18th, 1990.

"A lot of detail, and a lot of nothing," says Paul Sternett of his memories of that day.

While some of the memories of the GMAC massacre have faded, Sternett says he can still see the look on James Pough's face when he walked through the door with a shotgun.

"The James swung through the front gate and started hunting us like rabbits behind our desks," he said.

"He pointed the rifle at my chest, and had me in his sights," he said.  

In the chaos, Sternett escaped.

Outside the building, the dazed expressions of survivors were the same as the people who made it out of the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado just last week.

"You never really get over it. You learn to handle it," he said.

For two decades, every time there has been a mass shooting, Sternett looks for answers.

Watching shooting suspect James Holmes dazed and aloof in his first court appearance, he doubts there will be any.

James Pough shot himself after killing 9 people at GMAC, but that doesn't bring him any peace.

"I can tell you from seeing the shooter lying on the floor dead, it doesn't give you closure," he said.

The what-if's don't help either.

For survivors, Sternett says it's painful for people to ask, why didn't you do more.

"One of the things people kept saying was, "If I'd have been there!", my friend if you had been there you would have been under a desk just like the rest of us," he said.

All these years later, he still has nightmares about the shooting, and says he grieves for the victims and families whose pain is just beginning in Colorado.

"Like the edge of a sharp knife that gets dull over time and doesn't hurt as bad... time is really the only thing that's going to heal them," he said.

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