Mother of Cape shooting victim shares story of grief

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Sean Strickland had plans with his family the night of June 5, but when he got a call from work asking him to come in, the eager new employee with an eye on a management position didn’t hesitate to say yes.

Hours later, while on the job as a clerk at the Circle K on Chiquita Boulevard and Cape Coral Parkway West, Strickland was one of two people killed amid a shooting spree.

Still, Strickland’s mother, who recounted her son’s fateful story to WINK News, said she isn’t angry at the man accused of gunning down her son.

“Why would I be angry at someone who wasn’t in their right mind?” Judi Walters said. “I’m angry that my son’s not here. It’s hard for me to understand.”

Police haven’t determined a motive that drove 31-year-old Christopher Moran, who’s accused of the shootings, to fire the shots that killed Strickland and 54-year-old Jeremy C. Taylor and injured 61-year-old Richard Huwiler. Moran was later killed in a shootout with police.

Walters has sought answers simply about how to move on.

“I remember saying to somebody, ‘I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to be in a world without him,” Walters said.

She spoke about the feeling of numbness that overcame her in the weeks immediately after the shooting and said that while things have changed now that two months have passed, the experience is nonetheless difficult.

“I can’t honestly say it’s gotten easier, she said. “It’s gotten different.”

One visible change can be seen along a path at Rotary Park, where a bench now sits in honor of Strickland, who moved to Cape Coral shortly before his death. His friends and family put the donations they received in the wake of the shooting toward a new bench.

“He would be very happy with what he’s seen today and very happy that we dedicated such a nice place for people to sit and relax and enjoy the scenery,” Walters said. “I wanted to have a place that people from Cape Coral could recognize that Sean was part of us. He might have only been here a year and a half but he was part of Cape Coral.”

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