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Wed Feb 6, 2013, 07:32 AM

5 years later, Kirkwood, MO reflects on the end of its innocence

Five years have passed. People donít talk much about Cookie Thornton anymore. The mistrust of City Hall that some have felt has eased, but not disappeared. Meacham Park is less separate from Kirkwood, but not wholly integrated. Normalcy has crept back into city affairs, except for one key ingredient ó the innocence that the people of Kirkwood lost on Feb. 7, 2008.

Gone is that feeling that it canít happen here. Idyllic Kirkwood is etched as an improbable entry on the list of the 62 places in America where mass shootings have occurred in the past three decades. (Click here to read a more personal account from the reporter on how he has covered this story.)

"We really are trying to move past all of this and not talk about it a great deal," says Kirkwood Mayor Art McDonnell, as the fifth anniversary approaches of Charles Lee "Cookie" Thorntonís deadly assault on City Hall that led to the death of seven city officials and to Thornton.

But all it takes is a Sandy Hook or an Aurora or a Tucson to bring it back to McDonnell.


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