DENVER (KDVR) – A Republican state representative on Friday told another lawmaker whose son was murdered in the Aurora theater shooting, “You have to let go.”
Rep. Richard Holtorf made that comment to Rep. Tom Sullivan after Sullivan talked about his son Alex, gun violence and Colorado’s “red flag” law.
The comments from both legislators came during the announcements and introductions of the House Friday morning.
“Today is the 448th Friday since my son Alex was murdered in the Aurora theater massacre,” Sullivan, a Democrat, said.
Alex Sullivan was one of 12 people killed during the shooting in 2012.
Sullivan then talked about Colorado’s “red flag” law, which allows law enforcement officers to confiscate people’s firearms in extreme circumstances. Sullivan was one of the bill’s sponsors in 2019.
“I can assure you that it means plenty to those families who don’t have to endure another year and another empty chair around their Christmas dinner table, like my family has endured the last eight years,” Sullivan said of the law.
“I’m here to remind you daily what gun violence looks like,” Sullivan continued. “Whether you listen or not, I will continue to come to this microphone and tell you about its impact.”
Moments later, Holtorf spoke.
“I will tell you that all of us have suffered loss in our lives,” Holtorf said. “Here’s the most important thing we have to remember: scripture tells us that when something is taken away from us, we must understand that maybe there is a time when God needs the spirit of those children to do something in heaven.”
Holtorf, an Army veteran, farmer and rancher who represents southeastern Colorado, then told the House people should not be vengeful or divisive because of the loss they may have endured.
“Let me tell you,” Holtorf said, in reference to his military service. “The most important lesson I learned — and I offer this to my fellow colleagues, particularly the one that just spoke — is that you have to let go.”
Watch both Reps. Sullivan and Holtorf on YouTube. Sullivan begins at 34:45 into the video.
Neither Sullivan nor Holtorf has returned requests for comment.