El Paso, Texas, is the latest U.S. city to find itself reeling in the aftermath of a deadly mass shooting. According to The New York Times, there are multiple dead and wounded following an active shooter situation in an El Paso shopping center on Saturday, Aug. 3. As of publication, there are no final reports on the number of people killed, but the El Paso Police Department confirmed there were "several fatalities." As those in the city and around the country recover from the tragedy, you might be wondering how to help El Paso, Texas shooting victims, no matter where you live.
Again, the reports following the deadly shooting have yet to solidify all the details, but as of publication, the El Paso Police Department reports one suspect is in custody and there is no longer an ongoing threat, per CNN. President Donald Trump took to Twitter to share his condolences on Saturday afternoon, and he also warned of a high victim count, when he said in a tweet, "Terrible shootings in El Paso, Texas. Reports are very bad, many killed. Working with State and Local authorities, and Law Enforcement. Spoke to Governor to pledge total support of Federal Government. God be with you all!" A preliminary number of "at least 18 killed" was reported by KTSM, a local NBC affiliate in El Paso, per The Washington Post.
As you await final reports on the mass shooting, you probably also want to know how to help those most affected. There are a few things you can do to show support for the victims of the shooting.
Share The Reunification Center Location
For El Paso residents who were near the shooting and had to flee the scene, possibly becoming separated from family and friends, a reunification center was set up at MacArthur Middle School in El Paso, Texas, per a tweet from Texas House Rep. Cesar Blanco.
Even if you don't know anyone directly affected, you can share the news on your social media to ensure the news is widespread and available for those who need it.
According to KIII 3, a local ABC News affiliate, there is an urgent need for blood in the aftermath of the shooting. For those local to El Paso, you can make your way to Vitalent Blood Services in the area to donate blood. Per the news station, there are locations at at 424 S. Mesa Hills, and 133 N. Zaragoza in El Paso, Texas. The station shared a statement from Vitalent Blood Services on Facebook, in which the non-profit said, in part:
Our thoughts and hearts go out to our friends and neighbors in the El Paso area today. We know that many of you want to step up and donate to help out the victims of the senseless shooting. Our Vitalant center in El Paso has sent 90 units of blood to one of the hospitals treating the Walmart shooting victims. Our staff are also in contact with several other hospitals that are requesting additional blood.
The organization also said it will remain open until 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Locals can make appointments to donate by going to bloodhero.com.
Make Your Voice Heard
There tends to be a debate over whether talking about gun control is appropriate in the wake of a mass shooting, but if you believe stricter could laws could help prevent future deadly attacks, you can make your voice heard to your representatives. The websites for The United Sates House of Representatives and the Senate both have all the elected officials listed with their contact information. You can contact them by finding the congressperson for your district and your state's senators.
To ensure you get your point across, you can use resources from organizations like Everytown for Gun Safety, which is a non-profit organization advocating against gun violence and for gun control.
Study Up On Where 2020 Candidates Stand On Gun Control
Finally, as we approach the 2020 presidential election, you can educate yourself on the stances of various Democratic candidates when it comes to gun control. This guide from Politico provides information on where the candidates stand on issues like an assault weapons ban, or you can also check out the stances on guns on the respective candidates' campaign websites.
In the short-term and the long-term, there are plenty of ways you can take action to help the El Paso victims and their families recover from a senseless tragedy.