Austin shooting hits close to home



The writer and her best friend senior Meagan Henry, whose mother was at the Arboretum during the shooting.

Katie McClellan, Co-editor

The Indianapolis FedEx facility. A series of spas in Atlanta. A Cleveland nightclub. A grocery store in Boulder. When will it stop?

These are only a few of the locations where American’s latest mass shootings have occurred. At this point, waking up to the news of a growing death toll at the hands of shooters is commonplace and as a nation we are becoming numb to it.

On Sunday Austin had its own experience with a shooter in an apartment complex in  the Arboretum area of Northwest Austin, a shopping center frequented by many Vandegrift students and their families. I wonder if this is what it takes for us to make a change, experiencing death so close to home.

This “almost me” phenomenon is becoming too popular. We shouldn’t be thinking about gunmen when we walk into a movie theatre or go to pick up our groceries. We should feel safe leaving our homes. That surreal feeling of knowing you were so close to being in a situation like that is a horrible feeling, but hopefully it opens people’s eyes to the importance of gun control to prevent us from losing loved ones to bullets. 

The suspect, a former Travis County sheriff’s deputy who had been placed on administrative leave after being accused of raping a minor, murdered three people when he showed up at the Arboetum appartment complex with his gun. APD has classified the shooting as a deadly domestic situation and the victims were the shooter’s ex-wife (who had a restraining order against him), his step-daughter and her boyfriend. The shooter, Stephen Broderick, fled the scene, leading to a manhunt until he was captured in Manor, Texas later that day.

When I heard the news I rushed to call my best friend, who spends a lot of her time at the Arboretum’s Starbucks, but luckily she was at work. However, her mom was stuck at the Arboretum. All I could think was I don’t want to know one of the names on our growing nationwide death toll. Luckily, she was okay and was able to help calm residents and shoppers. 

A text exchange between the writer and her best friend after the shooting occurred. (Submitted)

Sunday was a system shock for me, and I’m sure others, because it became personal for Austinites. Usually I am able to push it out of my mind and classify the situation as happening elsewhere, even though its heartbreaking to receive the news, but this time it was real.