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Parents of Aurora shooting victim talk in Tucson

Posted at 10:28 PM, Mar 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-15 01:56:51-04

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - At St. Marks Presbyterian Church there was a connection between mass shootings in Tucson and Aurora, Colorado.

Lonnie and Sandy Phillips are the parents of Jessica Ghawi who died in the movie theater in 2012. She was one of 12 people killed and 70 others injured at the midnight premier of The Dark Night Rises.

The Phillips family told their story of losing a 24-year-old daughter.

"Every time we tell the story, it takes me to my knees. I get through the speech, but the next day or two will be rough," said Sandy Phillips.

Both Tucson and Aurora have a common bond in tragedy. For Tucson, it was the January 8th shooting where six people were shot and killed but 13 others were injured. Pam Simon, one of the survivors, also spoke at Monday's event. While Tucsonans know the story of January 8th well, Simon says they can also benefit from hearing what happened in Aurora.

"They shared with the audience tonight not only their personal story, but also their mission," said Simon.

The group called Gun Violence Prevention Arizona helped bring Sandy and Lonnie Phillips to Tucson for the speaking event. Monday, the Phillips spoke about common sense gun laws and want background checks for purchasing weapons and ammunition online.

"Being gun owners, when we found out the things we thought were in place, the protections we thought would be there and they weren't there and all the loopholes in our gun laws, we really felt like we needed to start educating people as well," said Phillips.

The Phillips and GVPA encourage people to make their voices here in locally about gun violence.