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Former Ogden father has no malice toward Emilie's killer

Published December 15, 2012 4:39 pm

School shooting • Ogden native Emilie Parker 'was always smiling.'
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

NEWTOWN, Conn. • Fighting back tears and struggling to catch his breath, the father of a 6-year-old gunned down in Friday's school shooting in Connecticut told the world about a little girl who loved to draw and was always smiling, and he also reserved surprising words of sympathy for the gunman.

Robbie Parker's daughter Emilie, who lived in Ogden and still has family there, was among the 20 children who died in the one of the worst attacks on schoolchildren in U.S. history. He was one of the first parents to speak publicly about their loss.

"She was beautiful. She was blond. She was always smiling," he said.

Parker spoke to reporters not long after police released the names and ages of the victims, a simple document that told a horrifying story of loss.

He expressed no animosity, said he was not mad and offered sympathy for family of the man who killed 26 people and himself.

To the man's family, he said, "I can't imagine how hard this experience must be for you."

He said he struggled to explain the death to Emilie's two siblings, 3 and 4.

"They seem to get the fact that they have somebody they're going to miss very much," he said.

Parker said his daughter loved to try new things — except for new food. And she was quick to cheer up those in need.

"She never missed an opportunity to draw a picture or make a card for those she around her," he said.

The world is a better place because Emilie was in it, he said.

"I'm so blessed to be her dad," he said.