Shooting in Uvalde Memorial Park Leaves Two Children Wounded, Reignites Gun Debate in Texas
With Uvalde children back in school as of this week, tensions are high in the small town, where just a few months ago, nineteen children and 2 teachers were killed by shooter Salvador Ramos at Robb Elementary. Uvalde has already been rocked by another shooting, not inside the classroom, but at Uvalde Memorial Park.
On a busy Thursday afternoon, with dozens of kids in the area, gunfire broke out in what is believed to be a gang-related incident, reports the Austin-American Statesman. Although the victims have not been officially identified, they were airlifted and hospitalized nearby in San Antonio.
The children and families present on Thursday were traumatized by the incident, which occurred just four months after the Robb Elementary shooting. According to CNN, incoming fourth-grader Aubriella, a former student at Robb Elementary who has suffered from PTSD and depression since the shooting took place, was at the park with her mother, Celeste Ibarra. “A lot of kids were ducking and diving again,” Aubriella’s mother said. “It was horrible.”
Responding to the shooting, Texas Governor Greg Abbott released a statement that read, “I was outraged to learn that gang violence has endangered the Uvalde community and innocent Texans this evening,” adding, “Gang violence has no place here in Texas, and we will bring the full force of justice down on these heinous criminals.”
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, there are currently five gangs operating in Uvalde, which the DPS has been tasked with dismantling. Governor Abbott has also sent an additional six troopers to Uvalde to coordinate a plan of action with local law enforcement.
Uvalde Memorial Park has become sacred ground in Uvalde, where a makeshift memorial honoring the victims of the Robb Elementary shooting was built earlier this year. As faith in the Uvalde PD continues to plummet to all-time lows, the shooting and subsequent police response has reopened old wounds in the community.
According to ABC News, Governor Abbott has directed Texas DPS to start conducting “patrol operations in the gang hotspots.” In his statement, Abbott said he “immediately called Mayor [Don] McLaughlin and County Judge [William] Mitchell to offer the state’s full support and resources as law enforcement hunts down the gang members.”
Gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke pointed to this most recent shooting in Uvalde as a product of Abbott’s failed leadership. Abbott infamously ignored the advice of Texas law enforcement in crafting gun legislation, despite calls from the public to disallow anyone under the age of 21 from buying an assault rifle. Abbott responded that following through with the change in legislation would be unconstitutional.
In response to Abbott’s decision and this recent shooting, O’Rourke tweeted:
Texas will be holding a gubernatorial election on November 8 of this year.
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