Alleged School Shooter’s Pastor Says Boy is a Victim

Thursday, December 9th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

In the wake of the school shooting in Fort Gibson this week, the hurt is turning to healing. Five students were shot as they stood outside the middle school Monday morning. The News on Six went back to the town Thursday for an exclusive interview with Jeff Burress, the pastor of Fort Gibson’s United Methodist Church in Fort and one of the adults who is closest to the child accused in the shooting.

13-year-old Seth Trickey was identified by students as the one who opened fire on his classmates Monday morning. Burress spent time with the boy after the shooting, but can offer no answers about what happened. "I was able to get in and see him right before he went into the courtroom,” said Burress. “And since that time I've been doing a lot of praying."

Burress also visited with Trickey's parents who asked him to pass on their feelings. "It was beyond their understanding how kind, forgiving and considerate this community has been," he said. The pastor says people are coming together to support the victims, and their families. Burress counts Trickey as a victim, too. "The pictures that come to me in the night right now are the pictures of a 13-year-old boy who just turned 13 on Friday,” he explained. “A 13-year-old boy alone for the first time in his life, locked up."

Trickey remains in a juvenile detention facility. "A mom and dad, sitting, not being able to see him,” Burress related. “The same parents that have hugged him and have given him a kiss goodnight every night of his entire life. In a matter of seconds, all that was taken away."

Burress says Trickey came to church regularly. He was in the church’s sanctuary most Sundays. He was active in the youth program and was a popular young man. "He’s just a great boy,” he said. “He's just a great little guy." Burress says if it's proven Trickey was the shooter, he should get the help he needs, because the pastor believes Trickey is a wonderful and salvagable child. Trickey has an older brother and sister. The young people at church have made cards and are also collecting some gifts for them.