Hello, readers. Today we bring you up to speed on the news about Friday’s school shooting in Texas – plus an incident in Mississippi that is just the latest reminder that so much gun violence goes unnoticed.
Receive this daily news briefing by email every morning. Sign up here.
WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
The FBI updated the casualty count from Friday’s mass shooting: 10 were fatally shot, and 13 were wounded at Santa Fe High School in Texas. The number of injured was initially estimated at 10. The 17-year-old student who has confessed to the shooting used a shotgun and a handgun reportedly owned by his father. Two devices he intended to use as bombs were ineffective, according to authorities.
Stories of the victims are emerging. Two of the dead were teachers; the other eight were students aged 15 to 17. The Houston Chronicle is collecting remembrances. Glenda Perkins and Cynthia Tisdale, the murdered educators, were both grandmothers. The eight teens had passions ranging from Harry Potter to football to their churches.
One victim was an exchange student from Pakistan due to return home in three weeks. The funeral of Sabika Sheikh, organized by the Islamic Society for Greater Houston, was the first held for Friday’s victims. Though Sheikh had no family in the United States, the service was packed, with mourners overflowing into the courtyard of the local mosque where it was held. Her body is being flown back to Pakistan, where her family will hold a second funeral.
Santa Fe High had adopted aggressive measures to prevent a school shooting. Two armed resource officers patrolled the school, and last fall, the school board approved a plan to arm teachers (though none were carrying weapons yet). After a false alarm in February, the school went into lockdown — and won an award for its emergency response. On Friday, school police officers confronted the shooter within minutes, then engaged in a prolonged gunfight with him. Amid the volley of bullets, school resource officer John Barnes was shot in the arm.
The school’s baseball team had a playoff game on Saturday. Two injured students joined their teammates in the dugout. Pitcher Rome Shubert, 16, was grazed in the back of his head with a bullet; catcher Trenton Beazley, 15, was also injured by gunfire, and had his arm in a sling. Both boys were hiding in a closet when the gunman opened fire through the door. Santa Fe lost the game, but the community gained an occasion for solidarity: Spectators from neighboring towns showed up wearing the team’s colors or T-shirts saying “Santa Fe Strong.”
After yet another school shooting, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo has “hit rock bottom.” In a Facebook post that has since received 36,000 reactions, Acevedo directed his ire at those public officials who “acted in a solemn manner, called for prayers, and will once again do absolutely nothing.” In March, Acevedo joined students walking in the March for Our Lives in Houston, which is 35 miles northwest of Santa Fe.
Meanwhile, Governor Greg Abbott of Texas has called for a statewide moment of silence this morning. In a statement yesterday, he asked that all Texans join to remember the victims, their families, and the first responders at 10 a.m. local time today.
Young activists are personalizing school shooting fears. The Twitter hashtag #IfIDieInASchoolShooting seems to have been launched by a high school student and anti-gun-violence activist in Arlington, Virginia. Thousands of people joined in yesterday, including Parkland students Cameron Kasky and Emma Gonzalez. Some tweets were political (“dump my body in the White House lawn”); others hit emotional notes. Zion Kelly, a Washington, D.C., teenager whose twin was fatally shot during an attempted mugging in the fall, tweeted “#IfIdieInASchoolShooting or any shooting, I want to be buried right next to my brother.”
Several states are recording spikes in youth voter registration. A new analysis from the New York Times finds that after the February shooting, young people (those in their mid-20s and younger) made up a higher proportion of voter registrations in March and April than they had in January and February, especially in swing states like Florida and North Carolina. In April, more than half of newly registered voters in Pennsylvania were young people.
Gun violence continued unabated over the weekend: Seven people were injured and one was killed at a Mississippi nightclub. Police believe the incident in Hazelhurst, about 35 miles south of Jackson, began as a fight. Two suspected gunmen have been identified and there are warrants out for their arrest. The lone fatality was 26-year-old Jonathan Miller.
ONE LAST THING
What it’s like to be a teen gun-violence-prevention activist deep in gun country. After the Parkland shooting, 16-year-old Moriah Engdahl of rural Gillette, Wyoming, began reading about the connection between guns and suicide, and decided to join her peers across the country fighting for new firearms laws. The “Campbell County Ten,” which staged a March for Our Lives event, has dwindled to single digits, but Moriah has remained, fighting to keep guns out of her high school.
The Washington Post’s thoughtful profile of Moriah and her gun-loving father, Alan, was published on Friday, just hours before yet another school shooting rocked the country.