KIRKWOOD, Mo. (KSDK) - His name may bring back some painful memories, but 30-year-old Jayson Thornton believes he can help make a difference in Kirkwood.
Thornton is running for a city council spot. He's also the nephew of Charles "Cookie" Thornton, who six years ago went on a shooting rampage at Kirkwood City Hall -- killing six people.
The candidate says he wants the image of Kirkwood to change.
He is running against three others for only three city council spots.
Thornton says it was just two months ago that his neighbors in Meachum Park asked him to run.
"I'm not blind," Thornton said. "I am sure some people out there are going to be resistant, but that's life,"
He says he hopes his last name doesn't get in the way of his run at the Kirkwood City Council.
In February of 2008, his uncle Cookie Thornton opened fire during a council meeting.
"It didn't feel as if it was real it didn't feel as if it was something that I was a part of it was like watching a movie," Thornton said.
Six people died, including two police officers and city officials. The mayor died a few months later.
Current Mayor Arthur McDonnell says voters shouldn't judge Thornton by his uncle's actions.
"That will be hard for a lot of people it will be because there are a lot of people who, that that incident occurred in Kirkwood is a hard thing to forget," Mayor McDonnell said.
The mayor says he thinks Thornton has courage to run for office in the town.
"As I told him he is not, he is not responsible, not one bit, for what happened," he said. .
Thornton says his campaign slogan, "One Kirkwood, Moving Forward" is about the overcoming the past and looking to the future.
"They only know this one snapshot of a moment so this campaign is a great opportunity to show how Kirkwood and Meachum Park together we have moved beyond the tragedy of our past," Thornton said.
We reached out to the other candidates running for city council including current council members Paul Ward and Bob Sears and former council member Tim Griffin.
Those we talked to agree that they should be judged on their merits not their names.
There is a forum with the candidates Monday night at the Kirkwood Community Center at 7PM.
The election is April 8.