The father of one of the victims of the July 2012 mass shooting in Colorado told Talking Points Memo on Friday that his state’s Senate Minority Leader, Bill Cadman (R), rebuffed him while sharing pictures of his son.
“I walked right up to him, and I handed him one of the pictures, and I said, ‘This is a picture of my son,’” said Tom Sullivan. “He looked me right in the eyes and he said angrily to me, ‘I know what he looks like,’ and he walked away.”
Sullivan and Cadman’s encounter came following a May 14 forum sponsored by the Denver Post. Sullivan, allowed to ask the last question of the session, criticized Cadman and his fellow Republican lawmakers for showing “levity” during the votes on the state’s new gun safety measures, as well as Cadman specifically for telling “ficticious stories” during the session involving Boy Scouts and Canadian missionaries.
“You know what, he’s trying to accuse me of lying. I think we’re done,” Cadman said, cutting Sullivan off. “They’re not ficticious. My son is a Scout, and my in-laws go to Canada every year. So what is it that’s not true about that?”
Cadman then defended his stance, calling it, “people and constitutional rights over an elite government elected and run by a very progressive special interest group, that’s not even from Colorado” before asking if Sullivan just wanted to continue insulting him.
“What I will tell you, sir, is that my son was murdered in the Aurora theater by a man who had bought a 100-round drum and murdered my son,” Sullivan replied, referring to his 27-year-old son Alex. “As people have said to me, have expressed their condolences to me, the next thing they then say to me is they can’t imagine what it was like.”
As Sullivan then asked Cadman and another panelist to try to imagine that feeling, video of the conversation shows Cadman opening a notebook. Sullivan later told TPM that from his vantage point, Cadman only pretended to take notes but was actually “doodling.”
As Cadman refused to look at him, Sullivan described going to hospitals around town looking for Alex, only to discover that he was still dead in the Aurora Century 16, the site of James Holmes’ attack, having been killed by a gunshot to the heart, and then having to inform family members of what happened.
In the video, a moderator can then be heard from off-camera announcing the end of the forum.
“I don’t want anybody’s sympathy, or anybody’s pity, or anything like that,” Sullivan said after being rebuffed by Cadman following the meeting. “If that’s how he feels, then that’s how he feels. That’s the way it is. I’m not upset, now we know. I mean, I’m trying to figure out where these people stand on these issues.”
A spokesperson for Cadman said he was not available for comment.
Watch Sullivan confront Cadman over the loss of his son, in video posted by YouTube user “ColoradoPols” on Friday, below.