Published: 02nd October 2021
Gun violence on US campuses: In Texas, ex-student walks into school, shoots principal
Texas has the highest cases of gun violence on school grounds across the USA. Plenty of instances have led to tight laws, but will that curb the violence
In yet another incident of gun violence in the United States, a former student of a public charter school in Houston, Texas, allegedly shot and wounded the campus principal on October 1, before quickly surrendering to police.
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said that the 25-year-old man shot through a locked, glass door at YES Prep Southwest Secondary. Police had initially identified the wounded as a school employee, but the school later told the authorities that it was Principal Eric Espinoza. Fortunately, no students were hurt.
According to data collated by Everytown for Gun Safety, an organisation to prevent gun violence in the United States, just this year there have been at least 82 incidents of gunfire on school grounds, resulting in 21 deaths and 47 injuries in the country. In 2020, the number was 86 and in 2019 it was a horrifying high of 130 incidents of gun violence on school grounds.
Texas is a stronghold of the Republican Party and has been a strong defender of gun rights in the States. In 2021, this state, unsurprisingly, has had at least six incidents of gun violence on school grounds resulting in 2 deaths and 5 injuries — making it the highest amongst the 50 states. In the year 2020, this number was far worse with at least 13 incidents of gunfire on school grounds, resulting in 6 deaths and 7 injuries; the highest reported in the last seven years.
The recent shooting happened 50 km from the site of one of the deadliest school shootings in US history. A then-17-year-old armed boy with a shotgun and a pistol opened fire at Santa Fe High School in May 2018, killing 10 people, most of whom were students. The suspect has been receiving mental health treatment at a state hospital since December 2019. Doctors say he remains incompetent to stand trial on state capital murder charges.
Police did not release the name of the shooter in the current case but said they were able to quickly identify him because he was a former student. Police also did not release a motive, but Finner said authorities were investigating whether the shooter and wounded man had had any past interactions.