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Wednesday, March 29, 2006 - Page updated at 09:27 AM

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Suzanne Thorne, 15, who held Gandhi as her role model

Seattle Times staff reporter

Nancie Thorne says she must focus on the peace and love that surrounded her daughter, Suzanne, not the violent moments inside the Capitol Hill house where the 15-year-old died.

"Her role model was Gandhi," Thorne said. "When things got tough, Suzanne would ask, 'What would Gandhi do?'."

Suzanne was a girl of inquisitiveness and dreams — a teen who loved studying about eco-systems, nature, animals and insects. She was moved by the writings of the Dalai Lama, and she was a pacifist who hoped to start a non-violent movement to end terrorism, Thorne said.

"And stop terrorists, like the one who killed her," Thorne said. "We have to take responsibility and bring peace to this world. There is too much anger for our small world."

Thorne said the family's love and compassion goes out to the other five victims of Saturday's shooting. Standing in front of her Bellevue home, Thorne said she is hosting a house full of her daughter's friends, and inside they have set up a makeshift memorial with pictures. This is the home where Suzanne spent her days learning and becoming the loving and creative person she was, so this is where Thorne will try, somehow, to mourn her daughter.

"She was more pixie than child," Thorne said of Suzanne, the youngest of three daughters. "She saw wonder and beauty. She was never in a hurry, she always had a chance to look at nature and see its wonderment."

Suzanne loved animals, and had adopted turtles, geckos, hamsters, snakes and frogs, Thorne said. The teen had talked about one day opening a non-kill animal rescue shelter.

Thorne home-schooled Suzanne, a 10th-grader, for the last several years to allow her daughter to study, learn and grow in her own unique way.

"Our goal was to let her learn and experience as much as she could," Thorne said.

Suzanne's last full school year at public school was sixth grade at Bellevue's Robinswood Middle School, an alternative school. According to Bellevue School District records, Suzanne sporadically enrolled at Robinswood during her seventh, eighth and ninth grades. Robinswood Principal Estelle Collins said counselors are available to students, but so far few have stepped forward seeking help.

Thorne said her daughter was outgoing, and since she didn't attend a regular school, she learned to make friends in other ways, and through the community.

"She saw people's hearts," Thorne said.

Rachel Tuinstra: 206-515-5637 or rtuinstra@seattletimes.com

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