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Two Cox Elementary students among Allen shooting victims

by | May 8, 2023 | Latest

This article was updated at 10:10 a.m. Tuesday, May 9, to include the identities of all victims along with additional fundraising websites.

The impacts of the Saturday, May 6, shooting at the Allen Premium Outlets were felt in a local elementary school, whose two students were among the eight dead and seven wounded.

The incident took place around 3:30 p.m. when Mauricio Garcia, 33, opened fire inside the Allen mall.

Two siblings, second-grader Sofia Mendoza, 8, and fourth-grader Daniela Mendoza, 11, at Cox Elementary School, were killed while their mother, Ilda, remains in critical condition, according to a communication sent out by Wylie ISD Superintendent David Vinson.

“Words cannot express the sadness we feel as we grieve the loss of our students,” Vinson said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and all those affected by this senseless tragedy.”

On Wednesday, May 10, Wylie ISD students have been encouraged to wear yellow, which was the girls’ favorite color, a district announcement said.

The information has been relayed to staff at the school, Vinson’s message said, but children were not notified of the deaths because the district wants to let parents have the conversations with their child.

Wylie ISD’s counseling staff has also promoted material from Supporting Your Child from the Coalition of Grieving Students along with information from The National Child Traumatic Stress Network to assist children affected by traumatic grief.

“We know this news may be triggering for some, and we want to help our students, staff, and families however possible,” Vinson’s message said. “Every school’s counseling team is equipped to support those who may be struggling, so please do not hesitate to reach out.”

Additional counseling resources were made available Monday, May 8, through Tuesday, May 9, according to Executive Director of Communications April Cunningham. More resources will also be made available as needed going forward, she said.

The family has a GoFundMe page that has raised $122,037 as of 9:45 a.m. May 9.

Currently, other victims have been identified as Christian LaCour, 20, a security guard from Nevada, Aishwarya Thatikonda, an engineer from India, Elio Cumana-Rivas, 32,  and Cho Kyu Song, 37, Kang Shin Young, 35, and James, their 3-year-old son. The family’s 6-year-old son, William, survived.

A GoFundMe for the family has raised over $1.3 million as of 9:45 a.m. May 9.

LaCour worked as a security guard at Allen Premium Outlets, according to information released by Allied Universal.

On May 8, the Allen Police Department announced the Community Foundation of Texas was establishing a Support for Allen Fund.

Proceeds from the fundraising effort will be given to area nonprofit organizations providing services, such as mental health and grief counseling and trauma support for victims, their families and first responders. The fund will not make direct payments to any individuals, according to its webpage.

Individuals can visit the dedicated webpage to make a contribution or learn more.

A Family Assistance Center, located at 451 St. Mary Drive in Allen, was open through Wednesday, May 10, although additional hours may be opened. The center was open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 8-10.

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