Things That Matter

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.

@JamesMelville / Twitter

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.

Leslie Aide / GoFundMe

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.

Makeup by Jeremy / Facebook

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.

Haylee Wilkerson / GoFundMe

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.”

@amjoyshow / Twitter

“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.

Representative Matt Schaefer / Facebook

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.”

@ajeffery24 / Twitter

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.

@GregAbbott_TX. Twitter. 28 October 2015.

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.

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Two Teen Girls Died in a Suspicious House Fire During a Sleepover After a Quinceañera; Police Suspect Foul Play

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Two Teen Girls Died in a Suspicious House Fire During a Sleepover After a Quinceañera; Police Suspect Foul Play

CREDIT: CITY OF FREDERICKSBURG POLICE DEPARTMENT

On November 22nd, Lisa Treviño received news that is every mother’s worst nightmare. Police officers came to Treviño’s house and informed her that two teenage girls had died in a fire at a nearby apartment.

One of the girls was her daughter, 15-year-old Azalyia “YaYa” Hernandez. The other victim was her friend, 16-year-old Eliza “Ellie” Maurer.

Pictured: Azalyia Hernandez. Credit: Britny Cranford via GoFundMe

The girls were sophomores at Fredericksburg High School. The night started out like a typical weekend for any teenager: Hernandez told her mother that she was going to go to a sleepover with Maurer after they had both attended a quinceañera with her family earlier that day.

“I’m the type that when my kids aren’t at home, I’m the type that calls them. And I can’t go to sleep until I hear from them that they’re okay,” Treviño told Spectrum News 1. “I told her, ‘Okay, Azalyia, make good choices, think good choices and I love you.’ And the last text I got, ‘I will mom. I love you too.'” That was the last communication Treviño had with her daughter.

The Maurer family is also coping with their grief. They released a statement, saying: “We are shocked and devastated at the news of our daughter’s death. Ellie (Eliza) was a beautiful child. She loved playing basketball and volleyball. She had a spunky personality and was a social butterfly. Ellie was loved by her friends and family. We still cannot believe this happened. We have been so blessed by the outpouring of support by friends, family and the community and we are incredibly thankful for that.”

Pictured: Eliza Maurer; Credit: @1.ellie.m/Instagram

According to the Sorola-Treviño family, police suspect foul play was involved.

“As with all deaths, they are treated as a homicide until proven otherwise,” said Fredericksburg Chief of Police Steven Wetz to Spectrum News 1.

According to Treviño, police told her that the girls’ bodies were found in a bedroom. The Fredericksburg Police Department says that the primary causes of both deaths was smoke inhalation. Evidence points to the fire having been started on a couch.

“The very first thing that they told us was that they found them nude and that there was foul play, and there was some suspects who had run from the apartment,” said Gary Sorola, Hernandez’s stepfather, to Fox 7 Austin.

It is still unknown why the girls were at the apartment building, but the Sorola-Treviño family say that the girls knew the son of the woman who rents the apartment.

The Fredericksburg community is shaken by the death of the two girls. Both of the girls’ families are devastated. The victims’ families and friends said the two girls had big plans for the future. Ellie wanted to become a lawyer, while YaYa wanted to join the Air Force and work with K-9s before becoming a nurse.

December 14th would have been Azalyia’s 16th birthday. But now, her mother will have to endure what should have been a happy day without her daughter.

“Now she’s gone and I’m not gonna have a chance to ever see her grow or accomplish what she wanted to accomplish. She’s gone. They took her from me too young,” Treviño said.

Police are asking anyone with information about the night in question (November 21st) to come forward. Contact them at 830-997-7585 or call Crime Stoppers at 997-8477 (TIPS).

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Instead Of Celebrating Her Quince, This Teen Donated It All To Help Victims Of Covid-19

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Instead Of Celebrating Her Quince, This Teen Donated It All To Help Victims Of Covid-19

JiromyXool / Facebook

Few days are as important or as celebrated as a teenager’s 15th birthday. So imagine the level of selflessness one must have to be able to say ‘no, I don’t want any of the celebration, I rather help out my community.’

Well, one teen in Merida, Mexico did just that this week when she told her family ‘thanks, but no thanks’ to her big quince and instead used the money that had been raised for her special day to help out her neighbors who have been impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Her party was canceled thanks to Coronavirus, so she decided to help out those less fortunate.

In many countries across Latin America, the quinceañera is a huge milestone for teenagers. Beautiful dresses, visits from the entire family, big parties, and the best gifts are the norm at most quinces. But for 15-year-old Jiromy Xool Pech, instead of spending money on a lavish birthday celebration, she opted to use her party funds to help feed the needy.

Jiromy and her family had long planned her quinceañera – she had been looking forward to it for years. But with the pandemic hitting her community in Mérida particularly hard, the teen decided to put the party aside and use everything that had been invested in the ceremony to help her neighbors who have been impacted by the pandemic.

“Instead of partying, I prefer to give food to people, to help them with that,” Jiromy told El Universal. Jiromy not only asked to donate the money for her quince to the community, but she was also out there helping distribute the food to her neighbors.

Jiromy and her family weren’t alone in helping out the community either. Much of the food that was given out was prepared from by neighbors and local businesses that came to join Jiromy’s cause once word began to spread.

Unfortunately, many quinceañeras have been canceled or postponed thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Credit: Diego Sanchez / Getty Images

One of Mexico City’s most famous markets for buying quince dresses – el Mercado Lagunilla – has been closed for three months. This ins’t just hating a major impact on dressmakers and salespeople, but it also means that young teens aren’t able to buy the dresses to celebrate their big day.

But not all is completely lost: there are those who have begun to return, like Ximena González, who came with her family to try on dresses. Her quince was scheduled for May 16, but the pandemic changed everything, and now they expect it to take place in November.

“I was scared and upset but I had to accept it. Some friends can no longer go because they are moving,” she told El Universal. She added, “I hope that when it is my party the infections have gone down and that everything is done as if nothing had happened.”

Mexico has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, including Jiromy’s hometown of Merida.

Jiromy’s selfless act to help her community comes as Mexico continues to see record breaking numbers of cases. Tens of thousands are dying and even more are losing their jobs and being forced back into poverty.

As of August 6, Mexico has more than 456,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 49,698 people have died from the virus. In Jiromy’s state of Yucatan, there have been more than 10,000 cases of the virus and it’s had a huge impact on tourism, which is a major economic force in the state. Therefore, it makes sense that the 15-year-old thought it was important to use the money raised for her party to help those who are suffering financially.

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