The school shooting that killed on student and injured four others at Chardon High School in Chardon, Ohio has gained national attention, but one man in the Shoals has a special connection to the school.
Florence City Clerk Bob Leyde graduated from the school nearly 30 years ago.
Monday afternoon, images of Leyde’s high school fill his office in Florence. For the city clerk, the school shooting nearly 700 miles away hits close to home. Leyde walked the same halls nearly 30 years ago, where a gunman opened fire inside Chardon High School on Monday.
“I called my wife she said, ‘Hey, it’s all over the Internet, they’ve had a shooting at your high school in Ohio,’ and I said, ‘No, there’s no way,'” said Leyde.
The sad reality set in as Leyde checked the Internet for updates throughout the day. The sights on the screen bring back vivid memories of the small town he once called home. A town he describes as quiet, and safe.
“It was just shock and disbelief when I saw it, seeing the people out in front of the high school that I graduated from and seeing some of the streets that I had relatives live on years ago, and it was really just a shock and surprise,” said Leyde.
Leyde has called the Shoals home for the past 25 years but still his mother and brother live in Chardon, and with more reports of the incident, comes more hometown heartache.
Leyde recognizes the Chardon Police Chief as a high school classmate and the Sheriff as a high school friend.
“It’s a tough way to get reconnected, it really is,” said Leyde.
Leyde says it’s now time to support the family and friends of the shooting victims. Even hundreds of miles apart, Leyde says, his thoughts and prayers are in Ohio.
Leyde lived in Chardon for 25 years before moving to Alabama.