'It hits you.You suffer for it,' says mall-shooting victim's father

'It hits you.You suffer for it,' says mall-shooting victim's father »Play Video
Ron Forsyth

It's been one year since the shooting at Clackamas Town Center. Join KATU News this evening at 4, 5 and 6 p.m. for a look back and complete coverage of the candlelight vigil at the mall.

This was a special time of year for Steve Forsyth, the holiday season.

"He loved to decorate for Halloween," Ron Forsyth said. "He loved to decorate for Christmas.  He loved to carve a turkey. And none of that happened."

Steve died in the shooting at Clackamas Town Center on Dec. 11, 2012.

"Thanksgiving was tough," Ron said. "It was the last occasion where Steve was a part."

Today may be even tougher for the man who raised him and helped him start his new business at the mall one day before he was killed.

"I have moments," Ron said. "I don't see it coming. Just triggers a memory and I go crazy for a while. Then I crawl out of it and keep going."

Ron makes wooden coasters, trivets and toys in the shop in his garage.  He said Steve became inspired to start his own company making and selling the same kinds of wooden items, and  chose a kiosk near the Macy's at Clackamas Town center as his first location. 

It opened Dec. 10, 2012.

"He had thought it all out. He was a very thorough person," Ron said.  "He was on his second day. He had a couple hundred dollars in his pocket, so people were buying."

Then, the shooter came into the mall. In less than two minutes, everything was over.

"You'd think it would be more protracted than 1 minute and 46 seconds, because it certainly made a dent on me and a lot of people forever. But the event itself was short," Ron said.

It is a struggle for Ron, and he looks for ways to cope, reading books about grief and talking with his best friend, Joyce.

"I've told her a couple of times, 'Stop the world. I want to get off,'" he said. "It doesn't work that way."

He finds peace in working with wood. He is able to reflect on his son's life and search for meaning and understanding as he uses the saw to cut intricate patterns.  On the wall of his workshop are pictures of his family - Steve included.

"I want them to remember him as he was: a good all-around dad, friend and person. I think if you can say that about anybody, his life was a major success," Ron said.  

Ron said many people have supported him and his family, including the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office and friends, neighbors and members of the community who quietly came forward to help after the shooting.

Remembering the Clackamas Town Center shooting