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Joni Ketter

In memory of Sky Erickson

I will never forget the day that I got THAT phone call. It was a Tuesday — June 17, 1997. The phone call that morning was from my youngest sister, who also lived in Iowa. Once she made sure I was sitting down, she delivered the news that would change my life forever: Sky is dead. I couldn’t comprehend it at first; I could only think he must have been in a terrible car accident. My ex-mother-in-law had called my sister with the news, so she was my next call. When she told me he had been shot — murdered — I wasn’t sure what to do with that, so I did the only thing I could think to do. I went into my bedroom, closed the door, sat down on the bed and screamed.

My beautiful son had been kidnapped, tortured, driven across the state lines from Iowa to Minnesota, taken into the cellar of an abandoned farmhouse and shot in the back of the head. He was only 15 years old. His assailants should never have had access to any firearm, but they found willing sellers at a local gun show.

Of the 10 people involved, only three remain in prison.

Reacting shows support for gun violence survivors.