EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Plano High School, where the alleged El Paso Walmart shooter graduated from, has canceled its upcoming football game with Eastwood High School.
Plano was scheduled to play Eastwood High School on Sept. 6. That game is now canceled, according to the Plano Independent School District.
El Paso Police said that Patrick Crusius, 21, carried out the mass shooting at the Cielo Vista Mall Walmart, killing 22 and injuring 25 more. Multiple media reports have stated that Crusius was a 2017 graduate of Plano Senior High School.
A document allegedly left behind by Crusius stated that he was targeting Mexicans. Court affidavits say that he told police the same thing.
His family and members of his community have denounced Crusius alleged racist motives and the shootings.
As the greater El Paso community continues to cope with the loss and devastation experienced on August 3, Plano ISD Superintendent Sara Bonser opened a dialogue with Ysleta ISD Superintendent Dr. Xavier De La Torre regarding the second annual out-of-district matchup between Plano Senior High and Eastwood High, scheduled for September 6. After consulting with local law enforcement agencies, Plano ISD administrators felt obligated to prioritize the safety of the participating players, students, families and communities, and have concluded that the timing of the game falls too soon after the tragedy in El Paso.Statement from Plano ISD
Booster clubs from both teams had begun working together for a joint message of “unity and healing,” Plano Senior High School principal Sarah Watkins said in the news release. Those efforts will continue.
“We grieve with our neighbors in El Paso and are heartbroken that what is happening in society today is affecting our kids and our communities,” said Superintendent Bonser. “Our students and coaches were eager for this opportunity to come together with Eastwood High to promote a message of compassion and healing, but what should be a celebratory event would be encumbered by safety concerns for the participants and fans of both teams. Our top priority must be the safety of all.”
Sources told KTSM 9 Sports Plano ISD reached out to Ysleta ISD to release a joint statement to cancel the Week 2 matchup between Eastwood and Plano High. YISD did not want to cancel the game, instead, offered to host the game. PISD gave them a “hard no.”
YISD then suggested to play the game at a neutral site, but PISD declined. Sources say there was no credible threat, but PISD is worried the game could be a platform for someone with extremist views.
“We are not on the same page,” said YISD trustee Kathryn Lucero. “We believe it’s important for our communities to heal. We’ve been through a lot. El Paso was a victim of terrorism here. We need to heal, El Paso needs to heal, and Texas needs to heal. This is a perfect opportunity to let our kids play football.”
Eastwood head football coach and athletic coordinator Julio Lopez was taken back by the decision to cancel the game.
“The decision was made and I just feel like it was an opportunity lost to show the country, because El Paso is on the national eye, to show the country how great high school football is and how great athletics are,” said Lopez. “They unite communities and they show kids and society what it should be like out there.”
The Troopers are now searching for a Week 2 opponent and are considering several options.
This is developing story and KTSM will update it as more information becomes available.