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Shooting Tragedy In Conn. Brings Back Painful Memories For Southland Man, 19

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Few people have a better understanding about what happened today in Newtown, Connecticut than Josh Stepakoff.

He survived a mass shooting in Granada Hills in August 1999. White supremacist Buford Furrow junior stormed the North Valley Jewish Community Center and opened fire wounding 5 people.

Furrow fired more than 70 bullets on the school playground. He later shot and killed a postal worker.

Stepakoff, who was 6 in 1999, told CBS2 and KCAL9’s Rob Schmitt that today “brings back all same feelings of that morning and what those kids went through.”

He felt similarly when CBS2 talked to him in July during the aftermath of the massacre in Aurora, Colorado.

Once a victim, Stepakoff now spends a great deal of his time trying to prevent tragedies like today’s rampage. He says when he heard what happened it made him feel as though he’s failing in his mission.

He said, “I’m just appalled that this is what it comes to yet again.”

Tonight, Schmitt asked him how the victims families and survivors — who witnessed this horrible act — could ever recover?  He says, simply, that it won’t be easy. “If you are a parent or kid going through this, there are no guidelines. Try your best to get through it.”

RELATED LINK: Victim Of 1999 Jewish Center Shooting Rampage Talks To KCAL9

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