EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — As the investigation into a shooting in Far East El Paso near the Socorro Independent School District’s Student Activities Complex left one dead and five others injured early Sunday morning, an area resident says they are concerned.
The area is known for underage drinking and parties, off-roading and recreational shooting that an area resident says makes them feel unsafe.
“It’s pretty unsettling to think that people are just shooting guns out there recklessly,” said Karina Wilson, who lives in Far East El Paso.
She was awake with her infant son late Saturday night and heard what she thought were fireworks, noting how odd it would be at that time of night and nearly a week after July 4. Wilson said a neighbor sent her an article Sunday morning, where she learned that the “pop pop pop” sound she heard hours earlier were gunshots and that a 21-year old was killed.
Wilson and her family moved into the area in November and said she didn’t know how frequent gun activity behind her backyard in the unincorporated desert actually is.
“Had we known that’s a common thing back there, we probably would not have bought that house,” she said.
Wilson’s home is part of a newly developed and densely populated area that often sees after-hours activities.
“It’s pretty common to hear gunshots out there, it’s a desert area,” she said.
Wilson said she supports safe and responsible gun use but that she worries for the safety of her family when unregulated gun activity occurs so often and so near.
“My son’s bedroom is facing the SAC, she said, “and just the thought of a bullet coming through our house is what makes it very scary.”
KTSM 9 News reached out to local law enforcement and elected officials about the persistent gun activity that takes place in the desert area. The property is owned in part by SISD and several private property owners.
A spokesperson for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office told KTSM that the shooting is being actively investigated and did not provide additional information.
SISD declined to comment on the District’s security at its portion of the property and the protocols for its own police unit, deferring to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.
County Commissioner Iliana Holguin, who oversees the district the area is in, says the County is committed to doing what is necessary to keep the community safe but that a challenge is that much of the land is privately owned.
“Frankly, even though the property where it occurred is private property — it is not county property. Nonetheless, the County is going to try to do whatever we can to make sure that area remains as safe as possible,” she says.
Concerns over gun safety are top-of-mind as the community continues to expand geographically, while also continuing to heal from the Aug. 3, 2019, mass shooting.
“We have to do whatever we can to avoid these types of tragic incidents and so we need to do whatever we can,” Holguin said.