Slain journalist's father says he'll push for stricter gun laws in U.S.
Emily Chan, CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, August 27, 2015 3:11PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 27, 2015 9:59PM EDT
Only 24 hours after his daughter was gunned down on live television, Andy Parker spoke out about the young journalist's passion for storytelling, and the need for stricter gun control laws in the United States.
In an interview with CTV News Channel, Parker said his numbness over the shooting has begun to wear off, but "the abject grief has not."
He described his daughter, WDBJ reporter Alison Parker, as "loving," "sweet," and dedicated to her career.
"The people that she touched, everybody loved her," he said.
Despite his pain, the grieving father spoke to a number of media outlets Thursday, saying that his daughter would have wanted him to tell her story.
"She was a consummate journalist," Parker said. "And she would want me to get the story out."
Alison Parker, 24, was shot and killed alongside her cameraman, Adam Ward, in Virginia on Wednesday. The gunman, a former colleague, shared footage of the attack on social media just hours after the shooting. He later died of a self-inflicted gun wound.
In the aftermath of his daughter's death, Parker said he has decided to dedicate himself to stopping similar shootings.
"The whole thing, it crushed my soul," he said. "It crushed my soul and the only thing keeping me going is my mission to try and prevent this from happening again. "
Parker said he plans to push politicians to enact stricter gun laws and stand up to the National Rifle Association, the powerful lobby group that advocates for gun ownership in the U.S.
"How many Sandy Hooks are we going to go through? How many theatre shootings? How many Charlestons? Virginia Techs?" Parker said, listing mass shootings that have shocked Americans in recent years. "How many times is it going to be someone like Alison, who was one of the sweetest, most loving people and that touched so many lives?"
He also said he believes mental health problems need to be addressed.
"There needs to be common sense and there needs to be some kind of preventative action to keep mentally unstable people from getting weapons," he said.
In addition to speaking with politicians, the journalist's father says he is committed to speaking with news outlets about his daughter and his cause.
"I've done a lot of interviews. I can't even count (how many)," he said. "What I want to ensure is that this story doesn't go away in a week. I'm going to be relentless about it. I'm going to stay on it, and I'm going to make this happen."
For many journalists, Parker said, Alison's story seems to hit home.
"It's crazy. I mean, she was one of you guys," he told News Channel anchor Jennifer Burke.
In one of his interviews, Parker said he found himself speaking with a reporter who reminded him of Alison.
"There was this one young lady," he said. "She was a young, pretty blonde girl like Alison.
"And you know, I said, 'Sweetheart, that could have been you.' "