Support Local Journalism. Join Riverfront Times Press Club.

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Year Later, Kirkwood Still Reeling From Attack That Left Seven Dead

Posted By on Fri, Feb 6, 2009 at 2:15 PM

Tomorrow night the City of Kirkwood will hold a vigil marking the one-year anniversary of the fatal shootings that claimed the lives of seven people. 

In the year since the massacre, Kirkwood has done its best to recover from the tragedy. It's patched and painted the bullet holes in City Hall, elected new council members and a mayor, and held community meetings to help make sense of the murders.

Cookie Thornton's family prays in their home the day after the shootings.
  • Cookie Thornton's family prays in their home the day after the shootings.
Still, there remains the question: What pushed gunman Charles "Cookie" Thornton over the edge? Sure, it's been well documented that Thornton had been angry with Kirkwood officials for years. But what prompted this otherwise peaceful man to act in violence?

I couldn't help asking myself that question again today after re-reading the piece I wrote last year about the massacre. I was one of the first reporters to interview Thornton's family the morning after the rampage. Later that day, I also sat in on a conversation in Meacham Park that boiled over into a heated conversation about race and injustice.

For whatever reason, my notes and recordings from that day became something of an Internet sensation -- garnering thousands of views and 100-plus comments on this blog.

Many of those commenting attempted to provide an explanation for Thornton's action. But then, as now, they're only guesses. Unfortunately, Cookie Thornton carried the one true answer to his grave.

Tags: , ,

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 19, 2022

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

© 2022 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation