Another Texas Shooting Kills 7, Including Teen Who Just Celebrated Her Quince
It started as a minor traffic violation stop in Midland, Texas, when the driver took aim at the citing officer and engaged in a 20 mile-long shooting spree that ended in Odessa, Texas. Today, families are mourning the 7 people killed, and praying for the recovery of 19 people who were injured in Odessa, Texas. Among the dead is Leila Hernandez. She was 15 years old, and had just celebrated her quinceañera. Her brother, Nathan, remains hospitalized, recovering from a surgery to treat his injuries.
Authorities have not released the name of the shooter, but say he was a white man in his 30’s.
Police have not yet confirmed a motive, or the identity of the shooter.
The shooter was pulled over by a Texas Department of Public Safety officer on Saturday at 3 p.m. for a minor traffic violation, when he opened fire on the officer. As the gunman fled the scene along I-20 toward Odessa, he embarked on a shooting spree, killing and injuring people along the way. At one point, he abandoned his car to hijack a mail truck, which he drove to nearby movie theater, where he would later die during a shoot-out with police. The rampage has left reports of 19 to 21 people injured, including three police officers.
Of the victims is Mary Granados, a postal service worker who was killed as the suspect hijacked her truck.
Mary was on the phone with her twin sister, Rosie, when the shooter attacked her. “It was very painful. I just wanted to help her and I couldn’t. I thought she had got bite by a dog or something. I tried calling her name and she wouldn’t answer,” Rosie told a reporter.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help with funeral expenses. “She was beautiful inside and out, with a great heart and always ready to be a friend, always had a smile on her face!” writes the GoFundMe organizer, Leslie Aide. Granados is survived by her twin sister, Rosie Granados.
Leila Hernandez would have started school tomorrow.
Hernandez played for the Odessa High School basketball team. The superintendent of the school has promised to provide grief counseling services to students, staff and families. “Please help out our family as we had a tragedy today,” pleas the GoFundMe for both Leila and her brother’s medical and funeral expenses. Friends and family are expressing their grief and condolences via social media, on man commenting, “So tragic. Not long ago she was celebrating her (rite) of passage to becoming a beautiful young woman. Rest easy. Prayers for the family.”
Leila had just celebrated her quinceañera in May.
Leila’s quinceañera make up artist shared that they were “in total shock and disbelief.” In a Facebook post, they said, “I had just did Leila’s makeup and her family’s back in May for her quinceañera. Unfortunately this beautiful sweet soul was victim to the shootings that took place in Odessa today. Prayers to you Joanna Leyva and may God be there for you and your family through this difficult time. ???? RIP ????????”
A 17-month-old baby has sustained injuries from bullet shrapnel that have left holes in her lip and tongue.
Her front teeth were knocked out. “Anderson is 17 months old, has shrapnel in her right chest, which thank God is superficial,” writes the medical expense GoFundMe organizer. “She has a hole through her bottom lip and tongue and her front teeth were knocked out. She is alive. When others today are not alive.” Nearly $125,000 have been raised for baby Anderson in just 16 hours.
“This is f—ed up,” Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke told reporters. “Profanity is not the f-bomb. What is profane is a 17 month-old baby being shot in the face.”
“The rhetoric that we’ve used — the thoughts and prayers that you just referred to — it has done nothing to stop the epidemic of gun violence. To protect our kids, our families, our fellow Americans in public places. As a Walmart in El Paso Texas, where 22 were killed. In Sutherland Springs, in a church,” O’Rourke told a reporter. “One or two a day all over this country, 100 killed daily in the United States of America. We’re averaging about 300 mass shooting a year. No other country comes close. So yes, this is f—ed up,” he said. “If we don’t call it out for what it is, if we’re not able to speak clearly. If we’re not able to act decisively, then we will continue to have this kind of bloodshed in America, and I cannot accept that.”
Meanwhile, Texas Representative Matt Schaefer responded to the shooting to defend the “God-given” Second Amendment right.
Gun reform activist group Newtown Action is imploring Texas voters to “say NO to Rep. Matt Schaefer at the polls,” after he ‘spewed’ NRA rhetoric in response to the shootings. In a Facebook post, Rep. Schaefer listed all the ways he won’t “do something” about the mass shootings, and instead blamed single mother households and a need for prayer as the solution.
Schaefer minimized U.S. mass shootings as “the evil acts of a handful of people.”
In a follow up post, Schaefer claimed to understand both the problem and solution to mass shootings. “Godless, depraved hearts,” he posted. “That IS the root of the problem. Every person needs a heart transformed by faith in God through Jesus. May God be near to those suffering in Odessa and Midland, and everywhere that evil has struck a blow.
Hours later, new gun laws went into effect in Texas to loosen existing restrictions.
A series of bills were passed in June, which will now allow licensed gun owners to leave weapons in cars parked in school parking lots, allow guns in some foster homes, and in places of worship. It also bans landlords from prohibiting firearms from their property, and allows residents to carry handguns while evacuating from a disaster area. Trump maintains that background checks wouldn’t have stopped the shooting.