With heavy hearts, America grieves the largest mass shooting it it’s history. Early Sunday morning, just after last call, a gunman burst into Orlando’s Pulse nightclub and shot at clubgoers with an automatic weapon and a handgun that were purchased legally. The night of celebration turned into a living nightmare.
At first, clubgoers thought the shot noises were part of the electronic music. After the DJ turned down the music, it became clear they were at the center of a mass shooting.
Omar Matteen, 29, opened fire driving people into the streets, bathrooms and corners of the gay bar; one woman even hid under a pile of dead bodies. The shooting highlights the increasingly horrifying epidemic of mass shootings in this country.
Pulse promotes itself as “more than just a gay bar.” It was founded by Barbara Poma as a tribute to her brother who died of AIDS. The institution considers itself a safe haven for LGBT and provides services beyond partying.
Saturday night was called “Latin Night,” but there is no information on whether this was a factor in the shooter’s motivation, yet. On a recent trip to Miami, Matteen grew furious when he saw two men kissing in a park.
President Obama gave a somber address to the country Sunday, “We’re still looking at all the motivations of the killer. But it’s a reminder that regardless of race, religion, fait or sexual orientation, we’re all Americans, and we need to be looking after each other and protecting each other at all times in the face of this kind of terrible act. This massacre is therefore a further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that lets them shoot people in a school or in a house of worship or a movie theater or in a nightclub. And we have to decide if that’s the kind of country we want to be. And to actively do nothing is a decision as well.”
Our Texas familia has had a difficult and heartbreaking August. At the beginning of the month, a domestic terrorist attacked an El Paso Wal-Mart, targeting the city’s Latinx population. The attack resulted in 22 deaths and harmed dozens more. On the final day of August, another domestic terrorist went on a shooting spree along the West Texas interstate spanning two cities. The assault started in Midland, Texas and ended over 20 miles away in nearby Odessa.
When the massacre was over, 7 people were dead and 25 were wounded.
Leilah Hernandez was one of those 7 who died in the Odessa/Midland shooting.
Twitter / @BeccaFromTX
The 15-year-old had recently celebrated her Quinceañera and was the youngest victim to lose her life because of this assault. Hernandez died at the scene, wrapped in her older brother’s arms. The pair were out shopping with their parents for a truck. Her brother, Nathan, remains in Intensive Care as he receives treatment for his injuries. Understandably, Leilah’s family is reeling from her tragic loss.
To help cover Hernandez’s funeral cost and medical bills for the family, her father set up a Go Fund Me campaign. The fundraiser reads, “Please help out our family as we had a tragedy today” and features a portrait from Hernandez’s Quinceañera.
Though the campaign has only been open for 3 days, it has raised over $24,000 for the grieving family.
Twitter / @Nathan_H001
The campaign has been shared over 6,000 times and has nearly 500 contributors. Though the fundraiser has earned over double its goal, it is still accepting donations to help Hernandez’s family during this horrific time.
Besides monetary donations, the Go Fund Me page has been swarmed with condolences from those impacted by the news of Hernandez’s untimely death.
Go Fund Me
Many donors expressed their frustration with our government’s failure to enact gun reform legislation. Many feel that the only way to avoid further deaths by assault rifles is to make the weapons more difficult to obtain. If our representatives act in our nation’s best interest and regulate these weapons, deaths like Leilah’s could be avoided
Nathan’s bravery was acknowledged in the condolences and comments left on the fundraiser.
Go Fund Me
Nathan’s injury resulted because he was attempting to shield his sister. He suffered a gunshot to his arm while holding Leilah. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to save his sister from the bullet that took her life but he held her and offered her comfort in her final moments. His bravery should be acknowledged and commended. We’re sure Leilah is very proud of her big brother.
Some saw parallels between Hernandez’s family and their own.
Go Fund Me
This donor shared that her own daughter recently celebrated a Quince — just as Hernandez did this past May. The comparison goes to show that this could happen to any family. Mass shootings have become an epidemic and it seems that no space is safe. The thought that these tragedies could touch our lives is terrifying but it’s a reality we need to acknowledge.
Others shared their condolences and prayers for the family.
Go Fund Me
“We have to help,” this comment begins. Though prayers alone won’t change the world we live in, hopefully, the enormous outpouring of love, well wishes, and prayer will provide some comfort to the Hernandez family.
We hope Leilah’s family and the families impacted by this tragedy are comforted by the support being shown by their communities. Let’s continue to help these victims in their recovery and hope something changes to avoid the next seemingly preventable tragedy.
After a white man with an AK-47 failed to signal a left turn, he was pulled over by state troopers. For motives unknown, that triggered a shooting spree in West Texas, killing 7 people along a 20 mile stretch of highway between Midland and Odessa, Texas. The victims include a 15-year-old teen who just celebrated her quince in May, a father of two, and a U.S. Postal Service worker, Mary Granados, who was on the phone with her twin sister when she was carjacked and killed.
Mary’s sister, Rosie, has spoken out, recounting the gruesome final moments of Mary’s life, as heard on the other end of the phone with her.
The gunman fired at state troopers just moments before he murdered Mary and hijacked her mail truck.
“I was talking to her on the phone and she mentions something about hearing gunshots,” Rosie recalls. “She didn’t know where it was coming from, if it was near her or anything. She was just doing her job,” Rosie said. “I heard her screaming, and I wasn’t sure what she was going through,” Rosie says through tears. “I was just hearing her cry and scream for help. I didn’t know what was happening to her.”
“I thought it was just a dog attacking her,” Rosie recalls.
“My first response was to get in the car and go where she was to go help her.” Mary and Rosie were roommates. They constantly kept in touch with each other, and Rosie knew Mary’s route like the back of her hand. By the time Rosie found her sister, the police were on the scene. “She was laying on the floor when I got there. She was already gone,” Rosie said. “I just wanted to run to her and hug her … kiss her.”
Security footage shows Mary Granados delivering mail with a smile just hours before her murder.
Mary Granados was 29 years old, and just three minutes younger than her Rosie. They had planned to celebrate their 30th birthday together. Friends say that Mary enjoyed traveling with her boyfriend, loving her cats, and spending time with family.
“We came to the world together, and, unfortunately, she left before I did,” Rosie told reporters.
“I still can’t believe it’s real,” Rosie told CNN. “She was so special. I don’t know what I’m going to do without her.” Since Mary’s death, Rosie has just been “trying to stay strong for the family” and wrap her head around the sudden loss. “She meant the whole world to me because we came to the world together and unfortunately she left before I did. I wish she would have waited for me. We would have grown old together, but she left before.”
The sisters moved to Texas from Juarez, México when they were 14 years old.
Rosie said that Mary wasn’t feeling well that day, but was so dedicated to her job that she went to work anyway. She was just finishing up her shift. Rosie said that Mary’s cats have been yowling for her in the days that have passed without her.
The more people have heard Rosie and Mary’s story, the more they’re calling for gun reform.
“My biggest fear…” tweets Emma. “Guns should not be a right, they shouldn’t even be a privilege unless absolutely needed for your job.” Hours after Mary was killed, along with six other victims, new gun laws went into effect in Texas, to loosen restrictions. Guns are now legally allowed on school property, in times of declared disasters, and in places of worship.
You can donate to her GoFundMe to help with funeral expenses.
One of Mary’s coworkers, Leslie Aide, set up a GoFundMe to help support the family. “I had the privilege to work with Mary in the past,” she writes. “She was beautiful inside and out, with a great heart and always ready to be a friend, always had a smile on her face!”
Over $40,000 have been raised to support the Granados family.
The campaign has officially named Rosie the beneficiary. Rosie said that the two of them “were like one. And now a part of me is missing,” she said. “And I wish I could have it back, but I just can’t.”
Rest in Power, Mary.
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