Amanda Connors, Sioux Falls Cost Cutter Manager, Killed Protecting Employee During Hostage Situation
Tuesday was one of the more unique days in my career as a broadcaster. I was alerted via Twitter at about 1:25 pm that there was a possible hostage situation and shots fired at Cost Cutters 2701 W. 41st St. I alerted JD Collins who aired the breaking albeit sketchy details of what was happening.
Shortly after 2 pm, I made the decision to stay on the story as information emerged about the tragedy, about the traffic situation as a result of 41st Street being barricaded between Kiwanis and Lincoln Avenue, and also the fact that O'Gorman High School was under lockdown. There was a lot of information coming to us that the listeners of this radio station and the public needed to know.
When I learned that the shooting victim was 24-year-old Amanda Connors, the manager of Cost Cutters, it hit me right where I live. Mind you, I never knew Amanda, but what I am learning since yesterday makes me wish that I did. You see, it has affected me because my wife Lori owns and operates a beauty salon downtown. My daughter Erin is 24-years-old, the same age as Amanda.
It got me to thinking that anyone could walk into my wife's salon and hurt her, the customers and the ladies who work there. This was and still is a very sobering thought. On the other hand, my daughter could have been or could in the future, be in the wrong place at the wrong time, like Amanda was.
I went home Tuesday feeling very empty, hollow and sad. I fought the thought that something similar could have happened in Lori's salon.
Police Chief Doug Barthel was quoted today as saying, "I kind of see her as a hero because she called into the store, notified the mother, let them know what was going on and basically got herself in a position where she was at the wrong place at the wrong time."
In my book Amanda Connors is a hero. She did all the right things. She did everything in her power to protect her employee and friend, the other ladies who worked there, the customers and the salon. She stood up to the gunman who I will not name, since I personally do not want to give him any publicity for such dastardly, cold behavior. Her courage to do the right thing had a high price. It cost her life. She single-mindedly, without thinking of herself, did the right things that needed to be done. I have deep sadness for her loss, but also I'm very proud of the person she was when everything was on the line.
I feel deeply the void that her family and friends are feeling right now. Words are not enough for them, but I will try by telling them to try to find comfort in the fact that she is a rare person. This is a quality so many of us may not have when it's crunch time. She put herself on the line for something greater and bigger than herself and paid for it with her life. In their sorrow, I hope that they are proud of her. I'm proud of her and I think the community is too.
An account has been set up at all Wells Fargo Bank locations in Amanda Connor's name to help pay funeral and other expenses. Donations are welcome at any Wells Fargo Bank.