Fa­ther re­calls happy times with fam­ily

The Denver Post - - DENVER & THE WEST -

and 5-year-old Ethan — to O’Brien. He said it was the fam­ily’s fa­vorite park.

Jen­nifer and the two boys were found dead Wed­nes­day morn­ing in a mini­van parked in the load­ing dock area of a shut­tered Sports Au­thor­ity store in Lone Tree. All three had been shot one time. Po­lice have stopped short of declar­ing it a mur­der-sui­cide, but of­fi­cials have said there are no other sus­pects.

Jen­nifer Laber pur­chased a Glock 9 mm hand­gun at a lo­cal store Tues­day be­fore go­ing to pick up her son ear­lier than the dis­missal time from kinder­garten.

Ryan Laber filed a miss­ing-per­sons re­port when she didn’t show up at home later that day.

Ryan Laber, in his first pub­lic com­ments on his losses, ac­knowl­edged that his wife bat­tled deep de­pres­sion in her life.

“My wife and I had an im­mense love for our boys,” Laber said. “She had a sick­ness. We learned to cope and man­age, but de­pres­sion is a dis­ease. It op­er­ates in si­lence.” He spoke from the park’s gazebo, usu­ally a place for out­door con­certs and other events, such as the tra­di­tional hol­i­day light­ing. The mood in the crowd was somber. Some cried qui­etly.

On the steps lead­ing up to the gazebo sat two stuffed an­i­mals, a sock pup­pet mon­key and a teddy bear, snug­gled to­gether in mem­ory of the boys. Flames from four ivory can­dles flick­ered nearby.

Laber re­called hap­pier times with his fam­ily. He said one fun game in­volved the hunt for “trea­sure,” the gath­er­ing of rocks and sticks, mean­ing­less to adults but full of won­der to the two boys who still ex­pe­ri­enced ev­ery­thing as fresh and new.

As a sort of homage to the trea­sure tra­di­tion, the fam­ily liked to put in their back­yard blue glass gems, what they called Smurf trea­sure.

In front of the gazebo stood a line of small glass jars filled with blue glass gems.

Laber asked those who had come to the vigil to come for­ward to take one of the col­ored glass stones in re­mem­brance.

“May it re­mind you to lis­ten, love and live ev­ery day,” he said. “God bless each and ev­ery one of you.”

He wiped away tears as young chil­dren in the crowd ap­proached first, pick­ing up some of the jars of col­ored glass. The chil­dren fanned out into the crowd of mourn­ers of­fer­ing up small blue gems of trea­sure for the taking.

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