CLEVELAND, Texas. — The Texas chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots network, released the following statements in response to a mass shooting Friday night in Cleveland, Texas. While details are still emerging, reports indicate a man shot and killed five of his neighbors, including an 8-year-old. San Jacinto County Sheriff said authorities were searching for a man in his late thirties overnight after a local judge issued an arrest warrant for the suspect.
“We’re heartbroken for the community and those impacted by this senseless tragedy,” said Mageida Sopon, a volunteer with the Texas chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Texans are stuck in a seemingly endless cycle of preventable tragedies, from teenagers being shot at an after-prom party, to people – including an 8-year-old child – being shot in their home. We refuse to believe this is the norm, where communities are torn apart and lawmakers refuse to pass laws that will save lives. We won’t sit idly by and will continue to demand action every single day from our lawmakers so that our families and communities are safe from gun violence.”
While we still have more to learn about this tragedy, early reports revealed the victims are of Honduran descent. For too many years, Latinx communities have borne some of the heaviest burdens of gun violence, dying from gun violence every day and at rates disproportionate to their white peers. Whether it be through hate-motivated violence, city gun violence, police violence, or firearm suicide, Latinx communities remain among the most severely threatened groups.
The one-year mark since the deadly Uvalde shooting, where 19 children and two adults were shot and killed, is also less than a month away. These tragedies are preventable and Texas lawmakers are actively choosing to put their constituents in more danger. Texas has an opportunity to prevent gun violence and improve its gun laws by passing HB2744, a bill to raise the purchasing age for assault weapons from 18 to 21, requiring domestic abusers prohibited from possessing firearms to relinquish the firearms they own, and enacting an Extreme Risk law to empower loved ones or law enforcement to intervene in order to temporarily prevent someone in crisis from accessing firearms.
In an average year, 3,996 people die by guns in Texas, and 5,556 more are wounded. Guns are the leading cause of death among children and teens in Texas. More information on gun violence in Texas is available here. If you are interested in speaking with a Texas Moms Demand Action or Students Demand volunteer, or a policy expert please reach out to [email protected].