DENVER (KDVR) — Frustrated and passionate East High School students are set to address Denver City Council on Tuesday after last week’s shooting mere feet from their school.
They are speaking in solidarity with Luis Garcia, who was a victim of gun violence outside of their school last week. He remains in critical condition.
They’re calling for accountability from Denver leaders, as this gun violence in and around their school is becoming all too common.
“We knew Luis really well,” said Gabriel Hettleman, Garcia’s teammate on the school’s soccer team. “We were his teammates on the state championship-winning team, and it’s just terrifying that something like this happened to somebody so close to us, somebody that we were with all season, in and out of the classroom.”
Students unsurprised by another shooting near school
Another teammate, Cole Younoscai, shared the same sentiment.
“This happens too much at our school, but when it happens to someone you know and you’re close with, it really puts into perspective what it feels like to be personally affected by it,” Younoscai said. “So you sympathize with other shootings, not only here but around the community.”
The most recent shooting was a painful reminder of the normalcy of gun violence in and around schools. Student leaders like Caden Fiala, a member of East High’s Students Demand Action group, recalled last Monday’s chaos.
“I heard the secure perimeter status go off, and it’s happened so many times, nobody was really shocked,” Fiala said.
Lillian Jordan, a member of the student council, said the same.
“It wasn’t really that shocking. I was in the front office, so I was watching students run up the esplanade. I didn’t hear anything until we got the lockdown notification,” Jordan said.
Jordan spoke for their movement as her emotions were mixed with anger, saying they just want to feel safe at school.
“We shouldn’t be having to go to city council to talk about this. We shouldn’t be taking time out of our day to be concerned about gun laws in Colorado, and is our school safe or not? And the reality is that this needs to stop, and someone other than students need to care about this.”
How to help shooting victim’s family
The Denver Police Department said two teens arrested that day after they were found in the suspected car have not been charged in relation to the shooting. Friends created a GoFundMe to support Garcia and his family as he fights for his life.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867. A reward of up to $2,000 is possible for tipsters.