Family, friends gather to remember LIRR massacre

December 7, 2013 - 7:04 PM
Train Massacre Anniversary

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-NY, center in the red coat, and Joyce Gorycki, center left, hang wreaths at the Long Island Rail Road station in Garden City, N.Y., Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the shooting rampage that took the lives of both of their husbands aboard a Long Island Rail Road commuter chain. On Dec. 7, 1993, deranged gunman Colin Ferguson opened fire on the crowded train, killing six and wounding 19 before being subdued by commuters as he paused to reload. McCarthy’s son, who was also riding on the train, was seriously wounded. (AP Photo/Newsday, J. Conrad Williams, Jr.) NYC OUT, NO SALES

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (AP) — About a dozen family and friends laid wreaths and flowers on the platform of a Long Island Rail Road station Saturday to remember a deadly shooting on the commuter line 20 years ago.

"I know that people say after 20 years people should get on with their lives, we have all gotten on with our lives but there is never any closure," said U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, whose husband was killed and son seriously injured in the Dec. 7, 1993 massacre.

McCarthy emerged as a key spokeswoman for the victims' families after the rampage that killed six and left 19 others wounded. And in 1996, she made gun control the centerpiece of her successful bid for Congress. She said Saturday the anniversary is difficult for all the families.

"This was one of the first mass murders that happened and then to see all the other mass killings that we have seen, and we have Newtown coming up also," she said.

McCarthy said that the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School last year that killed 20 students and six adults should have been a wake-up call for stricter gun control.

"I thought Newtown would turn this country around and say we have got to do something, when our schools are not even safe," she said. "It's hard but I do believe eventually we will get there."

McCarthy's son Kevin, who doctors initially feared might not survive, has largely recovered. He is now married with two children and still lives on Long Island. She said he is having a tough time with the anniversary.

"This brings back memories that he doesn't want to remember," she said.

Gunman Colin Ferguson, who boarded the train in Queens, claimed that he waited to open fire until the train crossed over the New York City border out of respect for then-Mayor David Dinkins. He fired methodically over several minutes, reloading at least once, before he was tackled by passengers. Terrified survivors ran screaming from the exits when the train arrived at the next station.

He is now 55 and not eligible for parole until 2309.