Photo: Two Shot During Texas Middle School Basketball Tryouts, Hunters Blamed
Parents of children at a border town middle school were frightened Monday when they learned police had surrounded the school after gun fire was reported and two children were taken to the hospital with bullet wounds. When parents arrived however, many said they were not given any answers from school officials or police officers, only adding frustration to their fear.
Monday, after regular school had ended, Harwell Middle School in Edinburg, TX was holding tryouts for the boys’ basketball team outside. Out of no where, at least two bullets were fired towards the basketball courts, hitting one boy making a layup and another sitting on the curb.
Neither the coach nor other students saw a shooter, though the coach told Hidalgo County Police he believed it appeared to have come from the west.
Immediately after the report came in that shots were fired, a Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter was dispatched. Upon searching the area, hunters were found north of the school. One hunter was carrying a .223-caliber rifle, while the other two hunters were carrying .30-caliber rifles.
Land north and west of the school is often leased to deer hunters, and early thoughts are that the students were hit by the hunters’ stray bullets.
The boys, age 13 and 14, were both taken to the hospital with gunshot wounds. The 14-year-old was taken in critical condition to Rio Grande Regional Hospital in McAllen, TX. He was hit in the upper torso, with the bullet lodging itself in one of his organs. Doctors stated that if he had gotten to the hospital any later he likely would have died, as he was bleeding internally.
The younger boy was taken to McAllen Medical Center and treated for a gunshot wound the his right underarm area.
Both boys were reportedly in stable condition Monday night, and the bullets were removed from them and tests are being conducted to determine if the boys were injured by the hunters’ stray bullets.
Just in case, Sheriff Lupe Treviño said several deputies will walk in lines to comb through the nearby wooded area looking for any other bullet casings in the even the hunters’ shots were not responsible for the injuries.
The district is said to be considering building a cinder block wall between the hunting grounds and the school.