HOUSTON — It has been two days since a former student opened fire at YES Prep Southwest.
Police said 25-year-old Dexter Kelsey tried to open the front doors of the school on Friday, but they were locked so he shot his way through. When he got inside, police said, he shot principal Eric Espinoza in the back.
Kelsey has been charged with deadly conduct and aggravated assault against a public servant. According to a law enforcement source, Kelsey confessed to the shooting, telling police he was hearing voices and was not after the principal, but rather a different staff member.
Effect on students, staff
KHOU Mental Health Expert Bill Prasad works as a crisis response counselor in the wake of mass shootings. He said that in the immediate aftermath of such a painful experience, students might be on edge.
“It’s traumatic to go through this and certainly there’s a good possibility that feeling of shock is still with them,” Prasad said. “At times they will be hyper-vigilant, meaning that maybe a noise, a bang, might startle them.”
More than 900 students were at the school at the time of the shooing and none were injured.
Prasad said parents who waited anxiously to reunite with their children can also experience trauma. He said having patience is the key.
“It’s very difficult to watch a child suffer, but in these situations, you can’t just make all those feelings go away,” Prasad said.
He said to focus on the right things.
“We really have to focus not on the ‘what if?’ but the ‘what is.’”
“What is,” most notably being that no one was killed.
“These we’re heroic moves made by the administrators, teachers, the principal in this particular case. So we need to thank them for that,” Prasad said.
The school is providing counseling services and classes are canceled from Monday to Wednesday.
Kelsey is expected to appear in front of a judge Monday. Here's a video of Kelsey's parents reacting to the news: