Well, it seems I’ve been wrong all this time. West Texas is not the “heaven on earth” that I’ve been claiming. Not exactly hell, but not perfect, either.
We’ve heard there was a school shooting yesterday morning at 9:00 am in nearby Alpine, a small city of about 6,500 people about 65 miles from Estrella Vista. Initially, the Brewster County Sheriff’s office reported that one person was shot and two others were believed to be “on the loose.” However, as the real story became known, it appears that one female student was shot and another female student—the shooter—took her own life. A second person, a federal law enforcement agent who worked for Homeland Security, was shot by another federal agent in friendly fire. The agent’s condition was described as stable, but the injured student’s condition wasn’t released.
Our County Attorney, Steve Houston, confirmed that one person had died, and that the shooting happened outside a restroom in the school’s band hall. The girl who shot herself was said to have done so in the restroom. The wounded student was taken to the local hospital, the Big Bend Regional Health Center.
Students were evacuated from the building huddled together and hugging each other. Police officers patrolled the streets outside the school holding rifles and officers from other jurisdictions descended on Alpine in force.
The high school, which has about 280 students, was initially placed on lockdown, the school district said. But by 9:40 am, students were being evacuated, according to the Alpine Avalanche newspaper on its Facebook page. All other schools in the district were immediately put on lockdown, too.
In a post reporting the evacuation on its Facebook page, the Avalanche included the above image of students being sent across the street to the First Assembly of God Church (across the street from the high school). By 11:45 am, all students of Alpine High School had been released to family members.
Residents of Alpine thought they were immune to seemingly random gun violence, Sheriff Ronny Dodson said later in the day at a news conference. The school does not have metal detectors, he noted. “You can believe we are upset,” he said. “We are still in shock for the most part.”
Thursday’s shooting came just over two weeks after the new school year began. Information about the motive for the shooting and the names of those involved were not released. But it proves that even in remote West Texas, school is hazardous to your children’s health.
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