Family involved in Las Vegas Trail shooting give thanks to first responders who rushed to the scene

“I could have been without a child,” Druscilla Rodriguez said.

FORT WORTH, Texas — The mother of a 3-year-old shot May 1 on Las Vegas Trail wants to make sure emergency responders know the difference they made coming to the rescue. 

After almost losing her daughter to gunfire, Druscilla Rodriguez got some help setting up a face-to-face with emergency responders. City and community leaders organized an in-person meeting at the Las Vegas Trail Rise Community Center. 

“I personally wanted to thank them for responding so quickly and getting my children to the hospital, especially my 3-year-old,” Rodriguez said.

Her daughter Me’Chelle hugged and gave high-fives to Fort Worth police officers, firefighters and paramedics. It’s a thanks they never expected. Some of them tried to learn more about her recovery but only got limited information. 

Coincidentally, Fort Worth Police Sgt. Andrew Owen was back in the same neighborhood the next day to do a school visit and interact with students as part of their ongoing community-building efforts. 

Owen got into law enforcement as a police officer while already doing outreach ministry 16 years ago. So, caring for others somewhat comes naturally when they meet people like Rodriguez and her family during tragedy.

“We experience something like this, and we do what we need to from the law enforcement standpoint, and then we leave,” Owen said, “We really do care about the community. We care about people quite a bit. So, when we get to have these kinds of personal one-on-one interactions with them, get everybody in one room at one time and they can really see just how many people, from a first responder standpoint and a community standpoint, really care about people.”

“See her running around, seeing both running around, just really awesome makes it makes you feel like you want to come back to work again,” said Fort Worth Police Capt. Larry Young, “You want to help people. And that’s really all it boils down to is being the first part of somebody’s returning back to normal after an emergency or trying to set things straight back to normal.”

Young was the first on scene May 1 when bullets struck six children playing outside their Las Vegas trail apartment building. A bullet went through Me’Chelle, who lost one of her kidneys. Fort Worth detectives used security video to identify and arrest five suspects.

“Suffering and type of gunshot wound she suffered, you know, most babies and most people would never make it through that,” said Rodriguez.

Knowing thank-yous like this is rare, the face-to-face meeting with the emergency responders is something Rodriguez says she had to do not just for her family, but for the brave men and women who answered their call for help.

“I could have been without a child,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez has since moved out of the complex on Las Vegas Trail and shortly after the reunion she received a special delivery at her new home.

After finding out Rodriguez didn’t have furniture, WFAA got her in touch with Gary Wilkerson, the director of When We Love in Fort Worth.

Friday afternoon the organization delivered several pieces of furniture to fill the space of her new home. The pieces included a couch, a new TV, a mattress, dining chairs, a TV stand, and more.

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