'There is no closure.' 25 years after LIRR shooting, emotional and mental scars still fresh

Posted:

On Dec. 7, 1993, Colin Ferguson opened fire on an LIRR train carrying commuters heading home during the holiday season, killing six people and wounding 19 others others at the Merillon Avenue station.

For those who lost loved ones and for those who witnessed the horror - the passing of 25 years has done little to heal the emotional and mental scars from the shooting.

“We still have this big pain that he's missing. It's hard on holidays you know. Especially Christmas,” says Joyce Gorycki, who lost her husband.

She still vividly remembers receiving the devastating news from police.

“I opened the door. I said, ‘he's dead isn't he.’ They said, ‘yes.’”

Extended interview with Joyce Gorycki:

The six people killed in the shooting were: Amy Federici, James Gorycki, Maria Theresa Tumangan Magtoto, Dennis McCarthy, Richard Nettleton and Mi Kyung Kim.

Even for those that escaped death and physical injury, the mental scars run deep.  Terry Sullivan was on the 5:33 to Hicksville that evening when he witnessed the chaos firsthand.  He locked eyes with the gunman and saw Ferguson firing off his 9mm pistol, a scene that will be etched in his memory forever.

Original News 12 Long Island Coverage: Terror, panic on the LIRR as gunman opens fire:


“This guy is killing people, but he's just completely, has a complete blank stare.”

Although he escaped physical injury, Sullivan suffers from PTSD. He says he copes with “moments of depression, moments of tremendous anxiety.”

Extended interview with Terry Sullivan:

 
To work through this, Sullivan started riding the train again and sketching scenes of what would be considered normal and mundane commutes.  He is now a professor at Molloy College. His life has moved on, but nothing can stop real world events from shattering whatever sense of normalcy he might find in his art or profession.

Recent mass shootings in the U.S. make the horrible scenes from Sullivan’s past come back to life.

“Those events bring back the trauma that I felt. (They) definitely bring it back.”

Original News 12 Long Island Coverage: LIRR shooting sparks police presence on trains:

During the past 25 years, Joyce Gorycki has championed stricter gun laws.

“Something is wrong. something is wrong with this country and when is it going to change. I keep asking myself. This is 25 years and it's worse than ever.”

Although decades have passed, the pain is still very much a real thing for Gorycki.

"There is no closure. I'll have this until the day I die."

Ferguson was eventually convicted of numerous counts of murder and attempted murder and is currently serving his prison time upstate.  He will live out the rest of his life behind bars.

Original News 12 Long Island coverage: A vibrant life cut short in LIRR shooting:

Original News 12 Long Island Coverage: Carolyn McCarthy mourns her husband and hopes for her son's recovery: 

Original News 12 Long Island Coverage: LIRR shooter Colin Ferguson had signs of a troubled past:

Original News 12 Long Island Coverage: LIRR shooter Colin Ferguson appears in court for competency evaluation results:

 Original News 12 Long Island Coverage: LIRR shooter Colin Ferguson appears in court to request new lawyer:

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