Sons of Collierville mass shooting victim find comfort in faith and memories of their mother

Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 9:55 PM CDT
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COLLIERVILLE, Tenn. (WMC) - One woman was killed when a gunman opened fire inside of a Kroger grocery store in Collierville last week.

The shooting happened at Kroger on New Byhalia Road last Thursday.

The sons of Olivia King shared what’s helping them cope with their tremendous loss and the legacy their mother leaves behind.

Olivia King’s sons matched a world of pain since the supermarket shooting with a profound faith instilled by their parents.

“I think a lot of people expected us to respond with a cry for vengeance, a cry of anger or a cry of righteous, justice or something along those lines,” said Wes King. “It would be easy to give in to that. It would be easy to give in to anger and fury and understandable, but we are called to something higher by our faith.”

“The way that she died was unfortunate and tragic, and violent. Spiritually, she was ready. She had just been with our Lord. To me that brings tremendous consolation,” Jason King said.

“How I hope her legacy manifests in myself is to be more like she was to me these last couple of years, to be just relentless in forgiveness, in patience, and in love,” Greg King said.

The King brothers moved to Collierville when their dad, a navy pilot, took a job training FedEx aviators in 1996. Family photos always with Olivia King’s smile tell the story. All of her boys graduated from Collierville High and then Mississippi State. Jason King followed his dad into the navy.

Wes King studied music and earned a doctorate at the University of Memphis and teaches now in Ohio. Greg King is an air force pilot stationed in Germany. Their inspiring lives all changed after a third-party vendor named Uk Thang opened fire inside Kroger last week.

The King sons learned ordinary citizens took care of their mom after she was shot.

“This was a private citizen and his son who while the shooting was still going on, rather than fleeing for their own lives which would be again totally understandable in this situation, they saw my mother on the ground. They stopped. They applied pressure to her wounds without even thinking of the risk to themselves. They stayed with her. They held her, they prayed with her until the paramedics got there,” Wes King said.

The King brothers marvel at the response of their mom’s many friends since the shooting. A fellow parishioner at the Catholic Church of the Incarnation left flowers on the pew where Olivia King worshiped every day.

“It gives us great solace to know she had friends, dear friends that would take care of her, be with her, worship with her, and then who would remember her after she’s gone like this, said Jason King.

<GREG KING/ Son RUNS: 06

“If that parishioner hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have known where my mom sat for daily Mass. Greg King said.

Jason King said the fact that the shooter took his own life has eased that challenge of forgiveness in a crime that affected so many.

“He paid the price for his crime immediately. And not forgiving him wouldn’t bring my mom back,” Jason King said.

The brothers pray this case will encourage American leaders to do something about gun violence.

<WES KING Son @ 17:16 / RUNS: 14

“So, there are much smarter people than me that can tell you politically what we should do. But there’s somebody that I look to for what we show visitation will be held this Friday from 6:30 to 8:30 P-M at the Catholic Church of the Incarnation

Olivia King’s visitation will be Friday from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Catholic Church of the Incarnation. Her funeral will be at the Church Saturday at 10 a.m.

Wes King said the public is welcome to attend the visitation and funeral.

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