Painful paper memories l Editor's Note

By Brandon Gustafson | Feb 14, 2018

I’ve been working at the Mukilteo Beacon for a little over four months now.

If you were to take a picture of my desk before Oct. 9, my first day, and compare it to now, you wouldn’t notice much change besides my Super Mario Bros mouse pad (thanks Katie) and my baseball trivia calendar (thanks Bob and Marcia).

Needless to say, my desk is very similar to when I first started.

I was looking through some drawers last week, looking for some scratch paper, when I came across a stack of papers I didn’t recognize.

When I pulled them out and started looking through them, my heart dropped once again.

The papers were impact statements from the July 30, 2016 shooting case.

These were statements from family members and friends of the victims of that shooting.

I read through each and every one with a tear in my eye. It’s been almost two years since the shooting and I still remember that day.

July 29 was a Friday. I had just finished my job as closing manager at Lombardo’s Pizzeria and I was heading home to my mom’s house in Picnic Point.

My two friends and I were set to move into the Baycourt Apartments just eight days later, on Aug. 8.

I remember playing some Xbox late into the night and then laying in bed.

As I was in bed, I was scrolling through Twitter and saw a couple posts asking if anyone knew why there were sirens near Chennault Beach.

I didn’t think much of it and went to sleep, having no idea I would be waking up to the news that three people I’d gone to Kamiak with would be dead, and that another, someone who I’d known for a long time, was shot and heading to the hospital.

I woke up and had a few missed calls and texts from one of my best friends, Nathan Piccini, who was out of the area at the time.

That was strange. Especially when the texts were, “Are you alright?”

I thought he was confusing me with someone else, responding, “Yeah I’m fine, what’s up?”

I was later told he thought I may have been at that party as it was near where my new apartment was, and he thought I’d moved in already.

I got on social media and saw the news of the shooting.

As is the case with these types of things, names weren’t available right away and I was left wondering why this had happened and who was involved?
I got a message from another friend of mine; I’ll keep his name anonymous.

He told me that Jake Long, someone who I’d played baseball with and considered to be a friend, was one of the people who died.

I didn’t believe it.

I’d seen Jake recently, working at the movie theater at the Everett Mall.

I’d bought popcorn from him and asked what he’d been up to.

Typical Jake, he seemed to be in a good mood as usual.

Man, that day sucked. The ensuing weeks and months sucked. Hell, it still sucks to think that they’re all gone.

It’s sort of ironic I find these papers just days after publishing a story on the Peace Park project.

I’m not going to give my opinion about if it should be at Byers Park or whether the council should reduce funds for it.

I will just say I’m glad people care enough to want some sort of tribute done, and whether it’s the full two-phase plan for Byers, or whether it gets significantly reduced to just a bench or fire pit at the beach, I hope something gets done in the near future.

Shout out to my buddy Jake Long.

JL7 for life.

 

 

Comments (1)
Posted by: Joe Kunzler | Feb 14, 2018 12:57

"I will just say I’m glad people care enough to want some sort of tribute done, and whether it’s the full two-phase plan for Byers, or whether it gets significantly reduced to just a bench or fire pit at the beach, I hope something gets done in the near future."

 

On that, we agree.  Thanks for manning the Mukilteo Beacon in the shadow of the legend that IS Sara Bruestle.  Especially today.



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