"I was struck by the quick-acting teamwork across all sectors, a true testament to the effective professionals and leadership that our community has in place."
By Cong. Mike Conaway
Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN, Texas – On Aug. 31, 2019, our community suffered a tragic act of violence when a mobile active shooter took to the streets—killing seven innocents and injuring more than 20 others.
Many are still dealing with the aftershock of that afternoon, as reflecting on the day instantly recalls the feelings of uncertainty, fear, and concern for loved ones.
For many, life will never be the same. The family and friends of the seven victims: Mary Granados, Edwin Peregrino, Leilah Hernandez, Joseph Griffith, Rodolfo (Rudy) Arco, Kameron Kartless Brown, and Raul Garcia have now endured a year without their loved ones and must live with grief and loss every day. Those injured, including officers from both Odessa and Midland’s police departments, continue to heal from the physical damage and emotional scars of trauma.
But instead of letting the tragedy divide us, the Permian Basin overcame the heartache and horror of the day to rally together—truly displaying the strength and resilience of our West Texas community.
After the shooting, I sat down with our first responders, law enforcement, medical staff, and local elected leaders to offer my support and continue the conversation on how we can effectively work together to ensure safety in Ector County. No one could have anticipated a mass shooting in our hometown, but these heroes were able to cut through the chaos and save lives. I was struck by the quick-acting teamwork across all sectors, a true testament to the effective professionals and leadership that our community has in place.
We are now one year removed from the Aug. 31 attack—with a global pandemic stretching and stressing our medical systems, and current tensions across the nation turning the sentiment of many in this country against law enforcement. Those same heroes: our police officers, doctors, nurses, and other first responders remain in the breach to protect the innocent, combat lawlessness, and save lives.
We cannot allow the tragedies of today to continue to divide us. As we honor the survivors and lives of those we lost last year, I challenge our community to recall the feeling of unity in our hometown, and pride in those who protect us. Let us remain vigilant in offering support for our law enforcement, first responders, and medical heroes who selflessly risk their own welfare in defense of the safety and security of all of us.
May God bless Odessa, West Texas, and the United States of America.
(This article was originally published in the Odessa American on August 30, 2020)