"I couldn't believe it. When I saw it happen, I was blown away. It's not something you would expect to happen there."
That was Denise's reaction to the tragic incident in Newtown Connecticut last Friday where 26 people were killed including 20 children at an elementary school.
Denise, who now lives in Kelowna, spent some time as a nanny in Newtown about 25 years ago.
"It was just a quaint little town," recalled Denise.
"When they say it's a nice little town, that's exactly what it is. It's a beautiful place, it's quiet."
While recalling the town, Denise also worried about the girls she looked after.
"They would be adults now, possibly with children who could have been attending the school. That's what my concern was. They are about 30 (years old) and could have children that age."
Denise, who was born and raised in Canada, also recalls the community as being very different from what she was used to growing up.
"When I lived there, being from Canada and going there, everybody had guns. It was quite the norm," says Denise.
"It's a different way to look at things especially when you are not raised like that. The only type of guns we're used to seeing is from people who go hunting or if you're from a hunting family."
Denise believes a tragedy like the one in Newtown could happen anywhere and says a situation in Kelowna five years ago underscores that point.
In 2007, a 21-year-old Kelowna man was arrested after he was found lurking around and inside at three elementary schools.
Upon his arrest, a loaded handgun was found in the glove compartment of his vehicle.
"How do we know this tragedy (Newtown) couldn't have happened here five years ago. It very well could have if they (police) weren't on the ball and caught the guy," says Denise.
"You think your kids are supposed to be safe at school. That's where they are supposed to be safe when they are not at home with their parents."