8-Year-Old Girl At Nationals Park Shooting Calmly Says She Was 'Prepared' — Because This Was Her Second Time

We asked experts for insight into how the trauma of shootings may affect children later in life.

Nationals Park Frank Romeo / Shutterstock.com

Last weekend, fans of the Washington Nationals and San Diego Padres were sent reeling when a shooting took place as midgame just outside of Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.

Police now know two cars were involved in the shootout that resulted in three people being injured, including one fan.

And while the shooter never entered the park, everyone in the stadium had to follow active shooter protocols, ducking under their seats and hiding where they could behind cover.


Eight-year-old Faris Nunn was one of many kids that were at the stadium to enjoy the baseball game, and what she had to say when she was interviewed by local reporter Jess Arnold gives us all something to think about.

Nunn, who was born and raised in the D.C. area, was sitting at the third baseline with her parents and younger brother when they heard the shots.

“I saw people looking that way. And I didn't know what was going on until I heard someone say get out, so I just started going under the seat," Nunn said.

When Arnold asked how she was feeling, Nunn replied, “It was my second shooting, so I was kind of prepared, because I always am expecting something to happen.”


Arnold later tweeted: “Sober reminder of what far too many kids in DC face daily.”

RELATED: How The Terrifying Normalcy Of Mass Shootings Affects Our Kids (& How To Help Them Cope)

To many of us, it's unimaginable that an eight-year-old child has experienced two separate shootings, let alone be able to explain how she feels about it so calmly.


We asked our experts at YourTango to weigh in on how being in the midst of a shooting may affect children later in life.

“All you experience is nearly forever, especially trauma,” spiritual and life coach Keya Murthy told us. “You suppress memories and learn to live with them.”

"Each time you experience trauma or merely witness it in the news, the new memory attaches itself to the past memory, and the charge associated with this memory gets amplified. What is stored in your subconscious mind shapes your belief system and affects each decision you make,” Murthy says.

As Nunn said, after living through the first of two shootings, she was already feeling as those she's "always expecting something to happen."

It's likely her subconscious thought process is already changing and molding her beliefs as a way to protect her from potential trauma in the future.


RELATED: We Live In A Country Desensitized To Gun Violence — And It's Scary

The young girl's mother, Lora Nunn told Arnold that a man had been shot to death outside of their Northeast D.C. recreation center in November, while they were at a toddler playgroup.

“We just try to reassure her that this is not normal, that nobody's targeting her, that it's ... just a really stressful time right now with the pandemic," Lora said.

Studies show that shootings tend to rise during the summer, and pandemic-related stress has also been shown to contribute to a rise in gun violence.

We're just a bit more than halfway into 2021, and it's already one of the worst years for shootings in decades.


“Just like the child of an alcoholic can grow up to be an alcoholic or a teetotaller, when a child witnesses gun violence, she may own a handsome collection of guns or be an advocate for gun law reform and stay away from any gun throughout her life,” Murthy says. “No one can predict which way the pendulum will swing.”

It’s worth noting that during the interview, Faris didn’t look up and was biting her nails the whole time.

Dr. Tarra Bates-Duford, a clinical psychologist in North Carolina explains, “Children that experience or witness violence can have a variety of responses,such as intense and ongoing emotional upset, depressive symptoms or anxiety, behavioral changes, difficulties with self-regulation, problems relating to others or forming attachments, regression or loss of previously acquired skills, attention and academic difficulties, nightmares, difficulty sleeping and eating, and physical symptoms, such as aches and pains.”

At least the outpouring of support and sympathy for the young girl on social media has been heartening.


No child should have to go through even once what she has already gone through twice now.

RELATED: How To Tell Your Kids About Mass Shootings Without Scaring Them


Isaac Serna-Diez is a writer who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice and relationships.