CHICAGO (AP) — Kansas City Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie fondly remembers those days growing up in Oregon — riding his bike all around Roseburg, going to the local swimming pool and cheering on the basketball team at Umpqua Community College.
All those memories came flooding back after a gunman opened fire at the school Thursday, killing at least nine people before dying in a shootout with police.
“It’s a very small community,” Guthrie said of the town where he was born and lived until he was 12. “My mom spent time there. I don’t remember — I was so young — if she was going to school there or if she was helping out there, but my brothers and I used to go swimming there at the swimming pool that you can see in those aerial photos. We used to watch basketball games there for the local team.
“So we spent a lot of time there and it’s part of the community. I’m sure they’re going through a lot of pain. I’m sure a lot of people and families are connected to some of the victims,” he said.
Guthrie’s father sold cars in the Roseburg area for about 20 years, and the left-hander said he still has several aunts, uncles and cousins in the region about 180 miles south of Portland. He stayed in Oregon after he moved and visited his hometown often for sporting events.
He said he heard about the mass shooting when an old friend sent him a text message to express his sadness.
“You keep them in your prayers and just hope that at some point in time, we, as a society, and as people, can learn to cope with struggles and difficulties and challenges in our lives in a different way,” Guthrie said before the Royals played the Chicago White Sox.
“We obviously all have the ability to go out and do harm, whether it’s with a gun or whether it’s through other forms of violence, that’s never the answer,” he said. “Unfortunately, we’ve seen too many people resort to that in recent times. All of us go through struggles; all of us have our challenges. Maybe we can show a little more love and compassion to those who are going through other things. Hopefully the end result is that we can stop having to witness these types of tragedies.”
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