Uvalde residents still seeking answers and accountability after tragedy

Uvalde Strong
Posted at 3:31 PM, Jul 19, 2022

The City of Uvalde is still recovering from the shooting tragedy at an elementary school that left 19 children and two teachers dead.

After release of new video footage and report, the community is still searching for answers and accountability.

E.W. Scripps’ correspondent Tomas Hoppough went back to Uvalde nearly two months later to speak to those living there who are sharing a message about what’s changed and what they said still needs to change.

The town is a lot quieter now, with a few people standing on corners with protest signs demanding accountability.

“We’re shook up; we’re real shook up,” said Michael Brown, a 35-year resident of Uvalde. “We’re all shook up, especially after they released videos. I have four kids. I had a 9-year-old in the cafeteria that day. He heard the gunshots, and he was scared cause all the other kids were crying.”

Outside of Robb Elementary School, where the tragedy took place, used to be a sea of media outlets in the wake of the shooting. Today, there are hardly any cameras outside the school, but continuous numbers of people coming to pay their respects in silence.

“There is outreach that immediately occurred between people,” said John Yeackle, a Uvalde resident of 26 years and the leader of the Chamber of Commerce. “Everyone knew someone that was affected. Whether it was trying to help people get a meal that evening or help them figure out how to cover not going to work the next day, our town took care of each other. We’re still taking care of each other.”

In light of all the information that has come out, a lot of people in Uvalde are not wanting to speak to the media. Their energy and efforts have been dedicated toward change in their community and accountability for how the tragedy was handled.

“A man just walked by me earlier and was talking about the memorial,” Brown said. “I told them, ‘It was taken away without us knowing.’ And he responded, ‘Ya’ll need to move on and get over it.’ How do you get over something like that? Especially if there’s no change and accountability. You can’t just move on.”

“I think the only way we can heal is for all of our local entities involved need to be transparent,” Yeackle said. “People are going to have to be held accountable. And people who are friends and family members in these leadership positions are going to have to be held accountable. The law enforcement community, right or wrong, is going to have an enormous gap to bridge. Uvalde is stronger than people think and we're less divided than we appear. The only way we can do that is have an honest and frank discussion and how we can have accountability and make sure this doesn't happen again."