Victim's father remembers son's final phone call

Victim's father remembers son's final phone call »Play Video
Ron Forsyth works on his woodwork - a hobby he passed on to his son, Steve.

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.

PORTLAND, Ore. - Steve Forsyth called his father on December 11, 2012.  He was at Clackamas Town Center, at his brand new business in the mall, a kiosk where he was selling wooden coasters and trivets.  

"It was a good idea," said his father, Ron Forsyth. "He was on his way. In more ways than one."

Ron has made wooden coasters and trivets for many years, and served as inspiration for Steve's business.  He said Steve called him that day to ask him a question about a custom order.  He answered his son's question, and then everything changed.

"I was talking to him on the phone when it occurred," said Ron. "It's still strange, because his voice, in mid-sentence---his phone started screaming. Steve either dropped or threw his phone to the ground when he saw the shooter."

Ron said the screaming sound was technological, possibly from the phone breaking as it hit the ground.

"It wasn't people.  It was static.  It was phone noise," Ron said.

That means Ron did not hear what happened next.

"Police said he was on his hands and knees crawling around his kiosk for protection when it happened," Ron said.

The shooter took Steve's life.

"In a way, there is a still a bit of deniability," Ron said.  "It couldn't have happened because I didn't hear it.  But facts are facts and it did happen, whether I heard it or not."

 Ron said he suffers grief and pain when he thinks of his son, who was a father himself, and family pictures of Steve can trigger tears.  "It's unpredictable.  It hits you.  You suffer for it," Ron said.   

Ron said his son was giving and caring, intelligent and bright.

"He was just a good person," Ron said. "Anybody with a cause, he'd help them. He gave us the most grief as a child. He gave us the most joy."

One year later, the pain is not quite as intense as it was.  But it is still there.  And it is deep. 

"He's gone," Ron said. "It was something you never dreamed would happen.  And you have to live through it."

Remembering the Clackamas Town Center shooting