Local community gathers to discuss mental health resources after Texas school shooting

Members of a community in Montgomery County gathered on Wednesday to discuss mental health after a shooting at a Texas elementary school that killed 21 people, including 19 children.

“It’s become clear today, especially what happened in Texas and what happened in Buffalo earlier in the month, it’s a tough time,” said Tony Darden.

Authorities say Salvador Ramos, 18, shot his 66-year-old grandmother in the face at their home in Uvalde, then fled in her truck while calling for help, according to Governor Greg Abbott, Texas Public Safety Director Steve McCraw and other officials. .

A short distance away, Ramos crashed the truck outside the school, got out with a rifle and approached a back door, officials said. They said an officer assigned to the school “betrothed” Ramos, but the gunman entered the building and walked down a hallway to a fourth-grade classroom. After locking the classroom door, he opened fire around 11:30 a.m. with an AR-15 style rifle, carrying several magazines.

A team of local officers and Border Patrol officers eventually forced the door open and shot Ramos dead after firing at them, police said.

Ramos was wearing a tactical vest, but no body armor, according to state senators who said they were aware of the shooting. An AR-15-style rifle was still in his truck and a backpack with several magazines full of ammunition was found near the school entrance.

The troubling loss of young lives shocked the nation and renewed conversations about gun control and mental health. On Wednesday, a panel of mental health experts in Norristown said what happened in Texas shows that the need for mental health is greater than ever.

“Just a social trauma. That’s what we’re all experiencing as a result of what happened in Texas. It affects us all,” said Ingrid Parker, director of the Mental Health Collaboration. “Maybe not as personal as the individual families directly affected by this, but we’re seeing this.”

MORE ABOUT UVALDE SCHOOL SHOOTING

The purpose of Wednesday’s meeting was to help break the stigma and provide resources for parents who may never have asked for help. The Norristown Police Department recently hired a new Mental Health Director to assist officers in the community.

“There’s a lot going on. Inflation, crime. You have to call someone. Talk to someone. Call a therapist. Call a psychiatrist who will help. And often it’s free,” said Norristown Police Chief Derrick Wood.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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