Sunday, February 20, 2011

Tragic Shooting Hits Close to Home

If you’ve followed coverage of the Sayles Boulevard shooting, then you’ve likely seen or read reports that the victim’s mother works for KTAB-KRBC. Sari David, mother of Austin David, is a longtime employee of the stations.

In some ways, you could call Sari an unofficial member of the newsroom. Though she works in sales, it’s not uncommon for her to stop by to give a news tip, suggest an angle for a story, or mention something she thinks would add to our coverage. Like many of us, you could call Sari a newshound.

As you can imagine, it was quite difficult for our reporters and photographers to do their jobs on the afternoon of February 9 while watching a co-worker break down after driving up on the scene of her son’s death. I admire their professionalism throughout the process. The same goes for everyone back at the station who had to organize the breaking information while struggling with what had happened to one of their peers. While our hearts our heavy for a mother who lost her son, it’s our obligation to threat this situation just as we would any other story.

It’s our job not to have an opinion; it’s our job to relay information. As journalists, we allow law enforcement, jurors, and judges to make decisions on who is wrong and right. Some have noted that we couldn’t possibly be unbiased in our reporting on this case. I can understand why someone would say that. However, I can assure you everyone that we’ve gone out of our way to be as fair and balanced as possible. We did everything possible to treat this as any other story.

That being said, I think we could all agree this is a tragic situation for our community. No matter the circumstances, no one wants an argument in broad daylight to end in gunfire….no one wants a mother to lose her son….no one wants two young children to lose their father.

A number of us from the station attended Austin’s memorial service Saturday to show our support for Sari and the David family. While the service was full of emotional and touching tributes to the 21-year-old father, there’s one stirring moment that stuck out to me.

During a portion of the service where friends and family were invited to share stories and memories of Austin, an older gentleman walked up to the podium. He was a complete stranger to everyone in the room. The man told a story about a recent flat tire that he was struggling to change by himself in a grocery store parking lot. He watched as car after car drove by. One person, Austin David, pulled up and offered a hand. “You’re too young to be jacking up that car by yourself,” he said as he offered to do the job for the stranger.

After hearing of the shooting and recognizing Austin, the older man said he wanted to attend the funeral as a way of saying “thank you” to the young man who was the only person to “love his neighbor as himself” that day. He encouraged everyone there to do the same.

After the service, the man went up to the David family and apologized just in case he intruded. Not hardly, Sari said. It turned out to be a beautiful tribute.

As I reflect on the moment, it certainly raises some questions for me. Have I gone out of my way to help a neighbor in need? Would a complete stranger come to my funeral?


  1. I agree, we could all do more to notice our neighbors, strangers in need and help if they need it.

  2. do unto others as you would have others do unto you... We should all stop and help our neighbors ... that's what's wrong with the world today.. We forget to help others...
    may the David family find strength in our dear lord and the act of kindness from Austin.

  3. My prayers are with the family for their loss!

  4. This was a trgic event which could have been avoided if we lived our lives as this gentleman suggested- Love thy neighbors as you love thy self. Instead two young kids are left without a father, a brpother has lost his only brother, a mother lost a son, grandparents have lost a grandson, numerous Aunts and Uncles lost a nephew, and many friends have lost a good friend. Thanks to this Gentleman for sharing this experience with everyone.