KUSA — A super PAC will change an advertisement that they claim inadvertently mirrored the story of a school shooting in Colorado, the father of the victim said in an email to 9NEWS.
The Giffords PAC was behind the ad, which was against Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colorado). The original iteration looked like a reenactment of Emily Keyes’ death at Platte Canyon High School in 2006, when an armed attacker held her hostage as she texted her family.
Her final text, “I love u guys,” is seen in the ad before the girl stops responding.
Emily Keyes’ father, John Michael Keyes, said he did not know the ad was running until he was contacted by 9NEWS. He asked the Giffords PAC to take it off the air – especially since Wednesday marks 12 years since his daughter's death.
John Michael Keyes leads the I Love U Guys Foundation, which advocates for school safety with a non-partisan agenda.
In an email to 9NEWS, the Giffords PAC said “this ad was not modeled after anyone’s individual story” and that “unfortunately, there isn’t any name we could have used that wouldn’t be similar to a victim somewhere.”
But the next day, John Michael Keyes said the PAC reached out to his family directly to offer their regret and apologies.
“They assured us that the similarities were coincidental and they would be altering the advertisement and reposting a new version on social media and other internet sites,” John Michael Keyes wrote in an email to 9NEWS. “We believe that any connection to the tragedy our family experienced was unintentional.
“We respect the ability to exercise a political voice and we understand that mistakes happen. We appreciate the prompt attention paid by the Giffords organization and their commitment to remedy the situation.”
Tuesday, John Michael Keyes – who was headed out of town for some quiet time on the day of the year his daughter died – said he would consider a legal challenge against the Giffords organization.
“This is not a battle we can afford but I think it’s one that may need to be waged,” he said.
The Coffman campaign also called for the ad to come down. The campaign manager for his Democratic opponent Jason Crow mocked the incumbent, saying it was the first time Coffman has shown outrage over a shooting.
9NEWS has not received a comment about whether Crow’s campaign would back the Keyes family’s call to stop airing the ad.
Exactly what changes the Giffords organization will make in the ad are not known at this time.
The Giffords PAC was originally named Americans for Responsible Solutions and was started by former Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband, Cpt. Mark Kelly, following the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Giffords was shot in 2011 while meeting with her constituents in Tucson, Arizona. That mass shooting claimed the lives of six people and wounded 12 others.