FEATURED: DHR Health, in partnership with the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office, is hosting an Active Shooter/Critical Incident training on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance, located at 118 Paseo Del Prad0. The course is free, open to the public, and geared toward adults and older teenagers. Seating is limited to the first 400 people. Call (956) 362-6843 to reserve entrance.
Graphic Courtesy DHR HEALTH FACEBOOK
DHR Health providing free Active Shooter/Critical Incident training to the community on June 8; Sen. Hinojosa, Sen. Zaffirini named to Senate Special Committee to Protect All Texans
Soon after the May 24, 2022 mass murder of 19 young students and two teachers, and related injuries of 17 other people at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, DHR Health will be providing a free Active Shooter/Critical Incident training for the public at the Edinburg Conference Center at Renaissance on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
An active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area.
A critical incident can be defined as any event that has a stressful impact sufficient to overwhelm the usual effective coping skills of a person.
“In the face of an emergency, it is important to be prepared with the appropriate medical and safety training. This training has been given to thousands of Texans by the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Academy staff over the last few years. The course is FREE, open to the public, and geared toward adults and older teenagers. Seats limited to the first 400 people. Call (956) 362-6843 to RSVP,” DHR officials announced on the hospital system’s Facebook.
Anchored in southwest Edinburg on a 130-acre site, with a growing presence in neighboring McAllen, Rio Grande City, Mission, and Brownsville, DHR Health offers some of the most comprehensive medical care on the U.S. southern border, with more than 1,400 nurses and 600+ physicians providing care in 70+ specialties and sub-specialties.
DHR Health is the flagship teaching hospital for the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine and encompasses a general acute hospital with the only dedicated women’s hospital south of San Antonio, a rehabilitation hospital, a behavioral hospital, more than 70 clinics Valley-wide, advanced cancer services, the only transplant program in the Rio Grande Valley – and the only 24/7 Level 1 Trauma Center south of San Antonio.
On Tuesday, November 16, 2021, Driscoll Health System, in partnership with DHR Health, held a groundbreaking ceremony for Driscoll Children’s Hospital Rio Grande Valley, located at 2820 W. Michelangelo Drive in Edinburg, which is being built on the site of the DHR Health campus, next to DHR Health’s The Women’s Hospital at Renaissance.
The new, independently operated, eight-level pediatric hospital will further the mission of Driscoll Children’s Hospital founder Clara Driscoll to provide medical care to all the children of South Texas. The building is expected to be completed in Spring 2023.
The facility represents a combined investment of more than $105 million. Driscoll Children’s Hospital Rio Grande Valley will operate with more than 500 employees, creating significant economic impact and new job opportunities for clinical, ancillary and support staff in the Valley.
Doctors Hospital at Renaissance, Ltd (“DHR”) and its general partner, RGV Med, Inc. (“RGV Med”) own and operate a 519 licensed bed general acute care hospital located at 5501 South McColl in Edinburg. The facility is one of the largest physician-owned facilities in the United States that began as an ambulatory surgery center in 1997.
Hinojosa and Zaffirini goals for the Senate Committee to Protect All Texans
Rio Grande Valley lawmakers are also taking action following that tragedy, including Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, and Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo (her Senate District 21 includes all of Starr County), were appointed by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, D-Houston, to the Senate Committee to Protect All Texans.
On Wednesday, June 1, 2022, June 1, 2022, Patrick announced the formation and goals of the Senate Special Committee to Protect All Texans.
“Gov. (Greg) Abbott has asked us to study five important areas: school safety, mental health, social media, police training, firearm safety,” the lt. governor said, who added he wants to legislative group to hold its first public hearing “on (Thursday) June 23 (2022), or a date shortly thereafter.
“I want to give the families and the community of Uvalde time to complete all funeral services before beginning hearings so those who wish to testify may take part,” Patrick added.
Hinojosa, a former Marine combat squad leader in Vietnam, said the Senate panel will do the critical work of helping ensure all Texans can safely live their daily lives.
“The most important responsibility of government is to keep its citizens safe. Sadly, the recent mass shootings have shown that we have work to do to meet this responsibility, and I am ready to get to work to find real solutions that make our schools, churches, grocery stores, and neighborhoods safe for everyone,” the Senate District 2o lawmaker said.
“Every issue identified as a focus for this committee is an important area that merits a robust discussion on what more we can do to prevent future mass shootings. We must make schools safer. We must do more for mental healthcare, not just when someone is in crisis, but to prevent crises altogether. We must ensure social media is being used responsibly and that police have the proper training to quickly respond if a shooting takes place,” Hinojosa said. “And we must implement policies to prevent firearms from falling into the hands of those who would use them as tools of unthinkable destruction instead of personal protection.”
He said that he recognized the Special Committee to Protect All Texans is a process that will invite intense discussion from many viewpoints. However, it is his hope that the Senate panel will arrive at solutions to keep communities safe and mitigate mass shootings.
For her part, Zaffirini has a connection to Uvalde and has experienced a mass shooting incident.
“Serving on the Special Committee to Protect All Texans is an opportunity to work toward bipartisan solutions for keeping students safe,” she said. “Because I used to represent Uvalde, represent Sutherland Springs, and experienced the UT Tower sniper, I will continue to make recommendations and hope to secure more support.”
The Sutherland Springs church shooting occurred on November 5, 2017, when Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, of New Braunfels, Texas, perpetrated a mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Kelley killed 26 people, including an unborn child, wounded 22 others, and killed himself.
Charles Joseph Whitman was an American mass murderer who became known as the “Texas Tower Sniper”. On August 1, 1966, Whitman used knives to kill his mother and his wife in their respective homes, then went to the University of Texas at Austin with multiple firearms and began indiscriminately shooting at people.
“I was on campus that day, working at “The Daily Texan,” (the student newspaper) sitting in front of a window in direct view of the Tower,” recalled Zaffirini. “To this day I remember not only the sounds of the gunfire, but also the sounds and sights of the suffering and the actions of heroes.
“We saw people killed, the wounded carried to safety, and many hiding for their lives. I also remember military tanks coming down Guadalupe Street, and soldiers coming out through the bottom to carry others to safety,” she said. “Finally, after 96 minutes we were told the sniper had been killed and we could come out of our buildings.”
In addition to Hinojosa and Zaffirini, the Senate Special Committee to Protect All Texans includes:
• Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, Chair;
• Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, Co-Vice Chair;
• Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, Co-Vice Chair;
• Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston;
• Sen. Brian Birdwell, R-Granbury;
• Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels;
• Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Tyler;
• Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock; and
• Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas.
“Chairman Nichols is an engineer by profession, Sen. Creighton is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education and Higher Education and Sen. Kolkhorst is Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services. These three leaders have the experience and knowledge to lead this important committee,” Patrick said. “The committee members also represent a cross section of school districts and communities of all sizes across the state.”
TEXAS HOUSE SPEAKER DADE PHELAN ESTABLISHES INVESTIGATIVE COMMITTEE ON THE ROBB ELEMENTARY SHOOTING
Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan,R-Beaumont, on Friday, June 3, 2022, established the Investigative Committee on the Robb Elementary Shooting to conduct an examination into the circumstances surrounding the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.
“The fact we still do not have an accurate picture of what exactly happened in Uvalde is an outrage,” said Phelan. “Every day, we receive new information that conflicts with previous reports, making it not only difficult for authorities to figure out next steps, but for the grieving families of the victims to receive closure.”
He said established the investigative committee for the dedicated purpose of gathering as much information and evidence as possible to help inform the Texas House of Representatives’ response “to this tragedy and deliver desperately needed answers to the people of Uvalde and the State of Texas.”
The following individuals have been appointed to the committee:
• Rep. Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock, Chair;
• Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, Vice Chair; and
• Former Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzmán R-Houston, Member.
“These individuals possess decades of experience in civil and criminal litigation matters – skill sets I believe make them best equipped to meet the objectives of this committee and its investigation,” Phelan said. “I know each of them to be diligent, thorough, and focused professionals whom I trust will do everything in their power to deliver facts and answers at a time when they are needed most.”
The investigative committee, which possesses the power of subpoena and is authorized:
• Conduct depositions and initiate discovery;
• Collect and analyze evidence from law enforcement;
• Make comprehensive findings; and
• Report its conclusions as soon as possible to help inform the work of the House.
In addition to the formation of the Investigative Committee on the Robb Elementary Shooting, Phelan issued a series of joint charges to the Select Committee on Youth Health & Safety and Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee.
Seven additional House members have been appointed to the Select Committee on Youth Health & Safety – six of whom represent cities that have experienced a mass shooting in recent years.
The following members have received appointments:
Rep. Greg Bonnen, R-Friendswood (representing Santa Fe);
(On May 18, 2018, a school shooting occurred at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas, in the Houston metropolitan area. Ten people – eight students and two teachers – were fatally shot, and thirteen others were wounded. Dimitrios Pagourtzis, a 17-year-old student at the school, was taken into custody.)
Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Ft. Worth (representing White Settlement);
(The West Freeway Church of Christ shooting took place on December 29, 2019, in White Settlement. Two people in the congregation were killed before the gunman was fatally shot by 71-year-old Jack Wilson, a volunteer security team member.)
Rep. Mary González, D-El Paso (representing El Paso);
Rep. Tracy King, D-Batesville; (representing Uvalde);
Rep. John Kuempel (representing Sutherland Springs); and
Rep. Brooks Landgraf (representing Odessa).
(On August 31, 2019, a spree shooting occurred in the West Texas cities of Midland and Odessa, involving a gunman shooting multiple people from a vehicle. Eight people were killed, including the perpetrator, and 25 people were injured, including three police officers.)
Rep. Drew Darby, R-San Angelo, has also been appointed to serve on this committee, as he recently served as the Chair of the House Select Committee on Mass Violence Prevention & Community Safety, which was formed in the 86th Legislature to study the occurrence, impact, and prevention of mass violence in the State of Texas.
For more on this and other Texas legislative news stories that affect the Rio Grande Valley metropolitan region, please log on to Titans of the Texas Legislature (TitansoftheTexasLegislature.com).