- Jon Romano, a school shooter now serving a 20-year sentence, wrote a letter to a local paper about the incident.
- Romano thanked the assistant principal who tackled him and stopped the shooting.
- He also said he was inspired by Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School survivors.
In 2004, Jon Romano walked into his upstate-New York high school with a shotgun and opened fire.
The then-16-year-old shot a teacher while being tackled by Columbia High School assistant principal John Sawchuk. There were no fatalities in the incident, and Romano is currently serving a 20-year sentence.
Now 30 and behind bars at Coxsackie Correctional Facility, Romano wrote a letter to local-area paper the Times Union reflecting on the shooting.
“John Sawchuk is a hero who I owe my life to. I know that every time another horrible shooting happens, he and all of my victims are hurt all over again by what I did to them,” Romano wrote. “I want to take away their pain, but knowing I cannot, I want to prevent others from experiencing this pain. I have taken the steps toward this that I can do from prison, and I intend to advocate for gun safety and mental health reform after my release in 2021.”
Romano’s letter offers a rare glimpse into the mind of school shooter years after the incident. He praised the survivors of the Florida school shooting and expressed gratitude for their courage.
“I believe the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL are courageous and inspiring for speaking out and demanding action from politicians,” he wrote.
Students around the US are planning a school walkout on March 14, the one-month anniversary of the shooting at Douglas High School where 17 people died.
“Everyone nationwide should follow and accept nothing less than meaningful, life-saving policy changes from their representatives,” Romano wrote. “Only then could this generation be the last generation that lives in a nation plagued by gun violence.”