RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — One organization isn’t going to be a part of Lobby Day at the Virginia State Capitol on Monday after receiving threatening messages.
The Virginia Center for Public Safety posted a message on their website canceling their annual Vigil to Remember the Victims of Gun Violence held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Andrew Goddard — the center’s Legislative Director — said the day could possibly end up being violent.
“I don’t want a repeat of Charlottesville here in Richmond,” Goddard said. “It would be a beautiful Monday if they came, peacefully stood around and then left.”
Gun violence has hit close to home for the Goddard family.
“In 2007, when my son was shot at Virginia Tech, I learned a lot of lessons in my personal life from what happened to my son,” Goddard told 8News.
Goddard’s son was shot multiple times but survived one of the deadliest shootings in the history of the United States. 13 years later the traumatic experience still cuts deep.
“He was shot in so many places. Yet, he tried the best he could to do everything he could do get out of the hospital as quickly as possible and back to his regular life.”
Turning his pain into activism, Goddard has dedicated his time to take a stand against gun violence.
“I wanted to make sure that everything that could be done, would be done so that we would not have another Virginia Tech,” Goddard said.
Goddard said he is open to sharing ideas with contrasting groups like the Virginia Citizens for Defense League. But, he is opposed to those coming in from out of town who may want to cause harm.
“If it was just the Virginia Citizens for Defense League and their supporters who were here, there would be no problem,” Goddard said. “They have never been a problem, except for a few little niggly things. I think this has to be a dialogue on facts. Not by things made up by organizations.”