Texas community turns to prayer for some kind of peace after school shooting: NPR


In Uvalde, Texas, people gathered Tuesday night to mourn those killed at Robb Elementary School.



STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let’s jump right in to the voices of those affected by yesterday’s mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. This is Brian Kirkpatrick from Texas Public Radio.

BRIAN KIRKPATRICK, BYLINE: A prayer vigil was underway at the Getty Street Church of Christ hours after the shooting. The church is very close to Robb Elementary, where many of the 600 students in grades two through four had just returned from recess. In just a few days, they were to start summer vacation. Erika Escamilla has several nieces and nephews who attend the school. They all survived. She was among those at the church prayer vigil. Escamilla described the horror that unfolded at school as teachers worked quickly to lock classrooms, lock doors, turn off lights and tell children to get off.

ERIKA ESCAMILLA: My niece was crying for me, and she was saying she heard the guy swearing, and she heard, like, loud screaming, and she heard him swearing, and then she heard, like, a lot of loud banging , the shots.

KIRKPATRICK: Escamilla explained what her niece did after the shooting started in her locked classroom.

ESCAMILLA: She just put her hands over her ears and curled up, and she said, Tia, I felt like I was having a heart attack. I was so scared, I didn’t know what to do.

KIRKPATRICK: Escamilla says the experience is something a young child should never have.

ESCAMILLA: I just want to say sorry to the children because they are innocent, you know? They do not know. They don’t know what’s really going on in the world like us.

KIRKPATRICK: Church outreach minister John Juhasz said worshipers are praying for the families of the victims, the medical teams working on the injured and for the shooter himself, who the minister says could have to be helped in his problems.

JOHN JUHASZ: I don’t believe anyone is just born bad. I think, you know, it’s just the way they turn around because they get sour on the world.

KIRKPATRICK: The Outreach Minister says the people of Uvalde will need to love each other and put aside their differences to heal from the shooting in the days and months to come. An early end to the school year was declared by school superintendent Hal Harrell due to the shooting. All school activities are cancelled. Changes could also be coming for the graduation ceremonies scheduled for the 27th.

(SOUND EXCERPT FROM AN ARCHIVED RECORDING)

HAL HARRELL: My heart was broken today. We are a small community and we will need your prayers to help us get through this.

KIRKPATRICK: I’m Brian Kirkpatrick in Uvalde.

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