Austin/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on May 24, 2024
Uvalde Families Seek Reform and Justice Two Years After School Shooting, Settle Lawsuit Amid Pursuit of Legislative ChangeSource: Unsplash / Michael Fortsch

Two years on from the Uvalde school shooting, families gathered at the Uvalde Amphitheater to commemorate the tragedy that left 19 children and two adults dead. The pain is still palpable, they continue to call for reforms, demanding Texas legislators to increase the legal age for purchasing high-powered weapons to 21. According to CBS Austin, families have been a constant presence at the State Capitol, even as gun legislation remains largely unpopular with the state's Republican-controlled legislature.

In a statement obtained by CBS Austin, Josh Koskoff, an attorney representing the families, stated, "The last thing they would want to do was to inflict any financial hardship on their friends and neighbors in this community. Their friends and neighbors did not let them down." This sentiment was echoed by Javier Cazares, father of Jackie Cazares, who told CBS Austin, "I cannot emphasize this enough. It’s not about the money."

Uvalde families have also pursued justice through the courts. They announced this week that they're suing the Texas Department of Public Safety and the responding officers for the shooting. The lawsuit is a grim reminder of the response failures that local attorney Josh Koskoff described as a causality of the mass shooting epidemic that "transforms towns like Uvalde into pariahs," as reported by Nexstar.

Aiming to prevent future tragedies, the affected families have settled their lawsuit against the City of Uvalde for $2 million – a sum Javier Cazares described to KXAN as "too little, too late." However, the settlement includes the stipulation for improved active shooter training for local police. Despite the settlement, Cazares declared, "We can never be 100% satisfied. I mean, we don’t have a daughter here… How can we move forward? Or heal correctly?"

Amidst the struggle for justice and reform, Uvalde looks towards a hopeful future with plans for constructing a new school. Lalo Diaz, Uvalde Justice of the Peace, conveyed to Nexstar the town's hope that the school "will be able to serve our children and our community for the next 75, 100 years." The Uvalde CISD Moving Forward Foundation spearheads the project, which has received significant funding but remains $20 million short of the $60 million needed.

The legacy of the fallen and the town's quest for healing will undoubtedly influence the community for generations to come. As Uvalde residents endeavor to forge a path forward, the push for legislative change and the pursuit of justice continues to resonate with a community still trapped in the shadow of May 24, 2022.