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Eric Decker reaches out to school shooting survivors

Posted by: Vince Tuss Updated: January 23, 2014 - 7:43 PM

"It changes your life in a second."

That was one of the many messages Broncos receiver Eric Decker had recently for students at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colo., trying to make sense of the fatal shooting at their school in December.

Decker, a former Gopher, has been in their shoes with the 2003 shooting at Rocori High School in Cold Spring, Minn., and told them that in a Denver Post story as well as a video shown at a school assembly.

"We didn't know what to think," said Decker, who hid for 45 minutes after the 2003 shooting of two students at his Minnesota high school. "Every girl was crying, every guy was trying to stay calm, and when they came and got us, we had to go across the street to the elementary school with our hands up. You see snipers on the top of the buildings, it's just surreal. That moment, you'll never forget."


It's resounded at Arapahoe High, where student Claire Davis was shot in the head Dec. 13 and later died of her injuries.

"I just felt a connection," said sophomore Mitchell Pennetta, who, as Decker does for the Broncos, wears No. 87 for the Arapahoe football team. "It's been kind of hard to go through this — you never think it's going to happen to your school, but then it does. And to know that somebody else, especially someone as famous as Eric Decker, has gone through something similar, it felt comforting."


Decker said he was prompted to share his tale after hearing news reports on the radio about the shooting. "It brings back flashbacks," he told the Post's Benjamin Hochman. "The library. Running out of the cafeteria. The gymnasium. You start praying for people."

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