June 30, 2022

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Uvalde school shooting hits home for Galesburg woman; friend’s son on playground that day

6 min read

GALESBURG — Chris Blanco, 50, was inside of her hair salon, Salon Blanco, 975 N Henderson, when she heard the news on May possibly 24 that a shooter was within Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas.

Blanco — who was born in Lubbock, Texas, and moved Uvalde in 1986, then Galesburg in 2005 — instantly considered of her loved ones and buddies who nevertheless lived there.

She contacted her father who life about a block away from the school and then her most effective friend Naomi Mason, 49, whose 9-yr-aged son Byron was on the playground when the shooter climbed the fence into Robb Elementary’s parking whole lot and started firing at the college.

Chris Blanco , sitting in her Galesburg hair salon at 975 N. Henderson St., retains a image of her finest mate from Uvalde, Texas, Naomi Mason. Blanco reported the two were inseparable after they fulfilled in 8th quality.

“It’s just shock and then worry,” Blanco explained. “First you get started contacting all of your household and questioning wherever everyone is at. I identified as Naomi to see where she was at and which is the 1st thing I believed about, was Byron.”

Fortuitously, Byron nor any of the other students outside Robb Elementary that day had been strike by the shooter. But neither Blanco or Mason knew that nonetheless, as Mason was extra than 40 miles away from Uvalde and in-involving cellphone provider.

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Mother goes into ‘panic mode’

Doing the job as a examination-vehicle driver, Mason was in Utopia, Texas, when she to start with been given a connect with from Robb Elementary notifying mom and dad that the faculty was on lockdown. As Uvalde is not much from the border with Mexico, Mason said it is not uncommon for the university to go on lockdown each few weeks, so she continued on her route.

It wasn’t till Mason reached Leakey, Texas, that she experienced support once more and acquired a next call informing her there was an active shooter at her son’s college.

“At to start with I was like, ‘It’s not in the faculty.’ I’m making an attempt to ease and comfort myself,” Mason said. “It’s not in the college, this is outside of the school, they’re chasing someone. My son is harmless, my son is safe and sound, my son is protected. Which is all I could preserve imagining: my son is harmless.”

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Mason said she has panicked only two occasions in her everyday living. The to start with time was when her late husband went into cardiac arrest. The next time was when, right after acquiring the 2nd get in touch with about the active shooter, Mason then learned that a single of her coworker’s nieces experienced been shot and killed at Robb Elementary.

Nervous before but now in “panic manner,” Mason started driving back again toward Uvalde. She then heard from a loved ones member that her son was secure and at Mason mother’s household.

“Heck, when I lastly got to my mom’s home the place my son was, I just couldn’t enable go,” Mason said. “My son ran out of the house in direction of me as soon as I pulled up and he hugged me tight and equally of us, we just could not enable go simply because it was a frightening circumstance.”

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Son quieter just after Uvalde taking pictures

Mason said that she doesn’t want her son to dwell on what he professional at Robb Elementary and that she started out him on counseling the following working day. But from what he has informed her, Mason knows that he was out on the playground for P.E class when the shooter entered the faculty grounds and begun firing.

Mason said that the college employees told the little ones to operate inside to the cafeteria and as Byron was fleeing, he observed other individuals around him tumble to the floor. Byron thought that they had been shot, but Mason said that they later on figured out that the students and staff members were dropping down out of fear.

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“He’s striving to run but he says that he keeps seeing his tiny buddies dropping to the floor,” Mason claimed. “He believed his tiny good friends ended up shot and then he imagined his coach was shot but he went forward and he retained running for the reason that the man was shooting.”

Mason said that her son is generally a talker and enjoys to sing but that soon after he was evacuated from Robb that working day, he experienced been more quiet than common. Mason said that her son regularly will come to look at on her and make confident that she is nonetheless there.

“That 1st evening he was terrified that the gunman was heading to come and get him, that he was heading to uncover him and all of this. It was definitely sad and hard to listen to all of that,” Mason said. “I eventually explained to him he’s not heading to arrive for you and he is not heading to occur for any one else. He is gone.”

‘It’s heading to acquire a long time’

Mason said that her son is not afraid any longer that the gunman is heading to return and that she is so grateful her son is alive. But she mentioned she also feels responsible, because she is familiar with cousins, co-personnel and classmates who have all missing children.

“I’m so delighted to have mine and, like I explained, I am so grateful. I just experience undesirable,” Mason reported. “I sense guilty mainly because I have mine and they never have theirs.”

Chris Blanco, 50, was at her hair salon, Salon Blanco, in Galesburg, when she heard a shooter was inside Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas.

Chris Blanco, 50, was at her hair salon, Salon Blanco, in Galesburg, when she listened to a shooter was inside of Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas.

Blanco stated that it has been hard for her to be so far away from Uvalde simply because whilst she didn’t go to Robb Elementary, she knows individuals who have small children in the healthcare facility and remembers going to faculty with the two teachers who ended up killed.

“I sense helpless. It’s hard not to be there to assist the local community. And that’s a different thing, we you should not know who to assist due to the fact now you can find all forms of fraud and diverse things which is coming out,” Blanco reported. “So I have been concentrating on assisting my friend Naomi due to the fact I know her and I know that she’s battling.”

For Mason, she believes it is likely to just take a very prolonged time for the Uvalde group to get better for the reason that of how quite a few harmless lives had been missing.

“What do you actually say? What can you really say, there is just no word,” Mason said. “When you lose your moms and dads you happen to be an orphan. You know, what word is there for when you lose your baby?”

This report originally appeared on Galesburg Sign up-Mail: Uvalde, Texas, faculty capturing hits residence for Galesburg hair dresser