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10 YEARS AGO: Readers remember Jan. 10, 2001

Editor’s note: In January 2006, readers of The Union were asked where they were when they heard the news of the Jan. 10, 2001 shootings.

Dee Murphy, Nevada City — I was sitting at my desk at the Rood Center when my sister called from her home across from the HEW building. She told me there had been a shooting at the HEW building, and that the shooter was still at large. The first thing I did was call my children’s school on Zion Street to make sure the children were not on the playground. Fortunately, the schools had already been locked down. My co-workers were starting to get the information, and they were quickly calling their loved ones and telling them to stay inside. The rest of the day was spent hearing rumors of sightings and other shootings. It was impossible to know what was true since the Rood Center was locked down, as well. Ultimately, I gained a new respect for life. No one wakes up thinking that today could be the day they die, but it could happen to any one of us at any time. September 11, 2001, reinforced that realization. You just have to be grateful for each day you have with the people you love. My heart goes out to the victims’ families as they try to cope with the fifth anniversary of the shootings.

Bettye Heinrich, Grass Valley — I was at the session for Cardiac Rehab patients at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital. The director, Robin Wright Mallory, received a phone call telling her that the hospital was in a “lock down” mode and the reason for that action. Once the lock down was lifted, I proceeded to cautiously drive another of the patients to her home in Nevada City before driving myself home to Grass Valley.

Heather Mandeville, Grass Valley — I had just moved to Grass Valley and heard the news when I was in Sacramento at work. The worse thing was the fact the children had just started Hennessy School and I was worried about them. What a shock. I was convinced I had done the wrong thing moving to a small town, but after five years I know the decision was right as I would not want to be anywhere else, not even my “home” in England!

I have made more friends in this wonderful place. I love the area and the schools are the best, especially the teachers!

Kit McDonald, Nevada County — I remember very clearly being in my car when I first heard of the shootings. I was very afraid because one of my children, my daughter, was at school, kindergarten. I was worried because the shooter was on the loose and I was afraid that he might show up at a school and do something even crazier, like take hostages. I went to collect her from school and brought her home. I was a little worried at home until he was found.

I remember how the peace in our quiet, little community was shattered that day. All day I kept thinking that it couldn’t be true and praying that the victims would live in defiance of one person’s heinous acts. Later that day, I recall hearing about the victims who died (and were injured) and feeling what a senseless, needless set of events had unfolded that sunny, January day.

Betty Lupton, Nevada County — I certainly do remember that day. I was at home preparing to leave to go up to the hospital for some scheduled lab work and just happened to tune into KNCO. What a shock to hear there was a killer on the loose running around Grass Valley. I debated whether to leave home for my appointment or not. Finally decided to go ahead. Driving up the freeway from my home off McCourtney was very eerie. There was virtually no one on the road. The town seemed deserted. When I reached the hospital and started to go into an outpatient building, a serious- looking guard stepped out in front of me and demanded some identification and explanation of why I was there. I certainly never expected to see anything like that. All in all, it was a very traumatic day for everyone and a terrible, terrible tragedy we hope will never be repeated.

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