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Family of Cold Spring shooting victim talks about the tragedy
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Tom and Sherri Rollins spoke for the first time about their son's death on Thursday. (MPR Photo/Tim Post)
Aaron Rollins' parents spoke publicly on Wednesday for the first time since their 17-year-old-son was killed in a school shooting in Cold Spring three weeks ago. Tom and Sherry Rollins are thankful for the support they've received from their small community. But they say they can't put into words how much they miss their son.

Cold Spring, Minn. — Tom and Sherry Rollins look drained.

Slumped in chairs in front of a bank of reporters, they answered questions slowly.

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Image Aaron Rollins

Three weeks ago their son Aaron, a senior at Rocori High School was killed in a school shooting. Aaron was shot in the neck and died soon after.

At a news conference to talk about their son's life, Tom Rollins, a volunteer firefighter in Cold Spring, said he wants people to remember Aaron as upbeat and fun.

"He was an all-around nice kid. Nice smile, got along with everybody, and if he had any enemies I guess I didn't know of any. He got along with everybody, doesnt' matter how good they were at sports or how smart they were, he got a long with everybody."

The Rollinses don't know if Aaron knew the student accused of the shooting. Jason McLauglin, 15, is being held in juvenile detention, charged with murder. A grand jury is in session in Stearns County looking at the possibility of more charges against McLauglin. Those may come because of the death of Seth Bartell on Friday.

While Rollins died soon after the shooting, Bartell was in intensive care for 16 days before dying.

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Image A collage of photographs of Aaron's life

A reporter asked if the Rollinses had anything to say to the accused killer or his family

Tom Rollins started to answer.

"I can speak for myself I personally..."

"No, don't go there," his wife interrupted.

The Rollinses say Aaron's older sister, and his twin brother are doing as well as they can. They say Aaron's friends spend a lot of time at their house sharing memories.

The Rollinses say the family's emotions range from anger to sadness.

"Seems like it comes and goes. You get angry and then it goes, but then it comes back again," Sherry Rollins said.

"I guess I haven't reached the anger point yet. I'm not really sure that it's really hit home yet, that he's gone; that he's not going to come back. It's almost like he's on a hunting trip or a fishing trip with his buddies, he'll be coming through the door any time," Tom Rollins said.

The Rollinses say nothing good will come from Aaron's death. It's brought the community closer together, but they say that can't ease their pain.

Tom and Sherry Rollins don't think tighter security at Rocori High School is necessary in the wake of the shooting.

Tom Rollins says metal detectors wouldn't have prevented his son's death. "I think it goes back to starting to pay attention, seeing stuff. If somebody says something that you don't think is right, you need to ask the question or tell somebody about it and go and find out what's going on. In my opinion I don't think anything would help."

The Rollins family and the Bartell family hope to build memorials to Aaron and Seth at Rocori. They don't know how yet.

Rocori Superintendent Scott Staska thinks a memorial is appropriate, and he expects milestones in the school year -- like holidays and graduation -- will have special significance.

"If I know our system well enough, I think a lot of that will be student driven in terms of how the students will think it will be appropriate to respond."

Aaron Rollins was buried in Cold Spring on Sept. 29.

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