Mother of Aurora mass shooting victim is ordered to take down flag honoring her son

A mother whose son was killed in the Aurora, Illinois warehouse shooting was ordered by a homeowners’ association to remove a flag honoring her son. 

Leslie Kendra and her husband Dave Kendra installed a 20-foot flagpole outside their North Carolina home to hang an ‘Aurora Strong’ flag honoring their late son, 32-year-old Clayton Parks.  

On February 15, HR manager Parks was at Pratt Co. warehouse when 45-year-old Gary Martin walked onto the property and killed five former coworkers in a shooting spree. 


Leslie Kendra, mother of Aurora mass shooting victim Clayton Parks, has been ordered by her North Carolina homeowners’ association to remove a flag honoring her son (pictured) 

Clayton Parks (right), pictured with his wife Abby (middle) and their son (left) before Parks was killed on February 15

Clayton Parks (right), pictured with his wife Abby (middle) and their son (left) before Parks was killed on February 15

Parks, who fired Martin prior to the shooting, was one of the victims.  

The flag hung undisturbed for five months, but a letter from the Professional Properties Management Inc., of Raleigh, North Carolina threatened to shatter that peace.

Leslie, 62, told the Chicago Tribune: ‘I feel like they are trying to take my son from me one more time.’

In September, the homeowners’ association sent the Kendra’s a letter saying the flagpole violated ‘community rules’ and the couple was requested for a hearing. 

Leslie says she never received permission from the organization to install the flagpole, but reached out with a retroactive request four days later.

‘I contacted the association and said to the architect, “can I tell you about the five people who were murdered and the five policemen who were shot?”‘ Leslie said. 

‘Can I tell you about the other people who will never be the same who were there that day?’ 

Leslie (middle) is fighting to keep an 'Aurora Strong' flag honoring her son (left) on her property

Leslie (middle) is fighting to keep an ‘Aurora Strong’ flag honoring her son (left) on her property

Real estate listings say the Kendra’s neighborhood is full of 120 lots of two story homes with four to five bedrooms.  They cost around $400,000 to $600,000.  

The Kendra’s moved from Crystal Lake in Illinois to Wake Forest almost three years ago and in the aftermath of the mass shooting are trying to find their footing. 

‘We are just trying to figure out what our new normal is,’ she said.  

The Aurora Strong flag, as well as the American flag hung alongside it, are a symbol of the family’s grief for both Parks and family members who served in the military.

The Aurora Strong logo has become a beacon of hope for residents and loved ones who suffered through the mass shooting.

The Aurora Strong Community Fund has raised over $500,000 since it was created eight months ago and paraphernalia has been made around the world.  

Aurora Shooting Facts

  • On February 15, Gary Martin was fired from his job and subsequently opened fire on his coworkers 
  • The first active shooter call was made at 1.24pm
  • The first of four officers being shot is reported at 1.30pm 
  • Reports of three employees shot inside the meeting room and two in the warehouse come in at 1.31pm
  • Paramedics and medical services start arriving at 1.37pm to administer help
  • At 2.58pm, Aurora officers confront Martin and kill him   
  • Six people, including the suspect, are left dead

After a local station reported on the flagpole dispute, the homeowners’ association agreed to no longer fine the family. 

‘Due to not receiving the application before the flag pole was installed, the Board of Directors was unfortunately unaware of the passing of your son and the intent to honor him with the flags and did not have the opportunity to respond accordingly,’ the organization said. 

‘The Board would like to extend their sincerest condolences to your family for your loss.’

However, disagreements on the flag’s placement still wage on. 

The homeowners’ association board has asked the Kendra’s to move the pole to the left side of the home and downgrade the flagpole size to 15 feet.

The Aurora Strong flag will be allowed to fly on February 20, 2020, but afterwards can only be flown on the mass shooting’s anniversary. 

Leslie hopes to fly the flag year round, but will be forced to take it down at the end of October if an agreement is not met. 

In an effort to fight the rule, the family has reached out to the state’s attorney’s office and Illinois legislators for help. 

Leslie said: ‘People have sports teams things on their mailbox. I just don’t understand why anyone would have a problem with this.’ 

There have reportedly been at least 21 mass shootings this year. 

Six people, including Parks, were killed during the Aurora mass shooting at the Henry Pratt Co. warehouse (left)

Spanning multiple coasts and at least 14 states, mass shootings have become an epidemic in American society. 

This summer alone, unprecedented attacks in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, shook the nation’s core 

In El Paso, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius walked into a Walmart near the U.S. – Mexico border and opened fire on a crowd of unsuspecting shoppers.

Crusius has been identified as a white supremacist and his attack was a direct target on people of Mexican descent. 

Using an AR-47, the gunman killed 24 people and injured 22 more.  

In a recent court appearance Crusius pleaded not guilty, despite telling authorities he was the shooter when he surrendered on August 3. 

Video surveillance caught Crusius near one of store’s entrances.   

One day later, 24-year-old Connor Stephen Betts killed 10 people after he fired shots at Ned Peppers Bar in Dayton, Ohio. 

Aurora, Illinois shooter Gary Martin, 45, killed five co-workers during his murderous spree

Aurora, Illinois shooter Gary Martin, 45, killed five co-workers during his murderous spree 

Betts used a Ar-15 style gun and was killed at the scene by authorities.

He shot 26 people in 32 seconds. 

Authorities say the motive behind Betts attack, which included his younger sister Megan Betts, may never be known.

President Donald Trump shared a tweet sending condolences victims of the Aurora shooting, but has stopped short of formally enacting any policies towards gun control. 

After the El Paso and Dayton shootings, Trump said mental illness is the reason for the continual violence.

‘Mental illness and hatred pull the trigger. Not the gun,’ he said. 

Trump also suggested America reopen mental institutions that have previously been closed as a way to combat future mass shootings. 

This point quickly and hotly contested by mental health experts who say mental illness is not a predictor of violent outbursts.  

In recent years, gun control has become has become an integral topic of discourse for both Trump and the democratic presidential candidates leading up to the 2020 election.