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UTPB students begin healing after shooting puts campus in lockdown

Students from the University of Texas at Permian Basin wrote messages of gratitude for first responders in the area to begin their own healing process.

ODESSA, Texas — About 50 students from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin wrote messages to first responders before a vigil in Odessa on Sunday night.

The entire UTPB campus was on lockdown while the shooting unfolded on Saturday afternoon.

“Oftentimes journaling is incredibly helpful. And while these are not journals, being able to put words down on paper and handing it to those who were involved is just incredibly effective,” said Minerva Gonzales, associate dean of the College of Nursing.

One of the students who wrote cards, Karly Eaton, said the cards hit close to home.

“My whole family was worried, we had people calling, texting, just trying to figure out where he was and if he was ok, so it really did bring that home,” Eaton said.

Her 25-year-old brother is an officer for the Midland Police Department.

“For him, it's a daily thing and I think that when things like this happen, that's when only people think about it, but for people who have family in law enforcement, it's a daily struggle, a daily worry,” Eaton said.

Seeing her classmates and friends write the message was encouraging, she said.

“I know that families like mine are very thankful for it,” Eaton said.

University officials said they planned to deliver the cards as quickly as they could, which they began doing at the vigil, which was also held on campus.

“To have my friends be on lockdown, that is very traumatizing for a lot of students here and just to be able to show their gratitude for those who kept them safe during that time I think that is very important,” Eaton said.

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