The 9-year-old was shot in the shoulder and also suffered injuries from bullet fragments hitting her right leg and tailbone.
Trigger warning: This story contains themes of gun violence that some readers may find distressing
A 9-year-old's picture was circulated among victims of the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, but it has been confirmed that she did survive the shooting. Kendall Olivarez was severely injured in the shooting but survived, contrary to social media posts claiming she had passed away. The confusion came after her picture was circulated among photos of other victims from the shooting. Her family confirmed to ABC10 that she is recovering from her injuries. The 9-year-old was shot in the shoulder and also suffered injuries from bullet fragments hitting her right leg and tailbone. She is now recovering at a hospital in San Antonio. A relative revealed that she survived because her teacher, who was shot, fell on her and shielding the girl from more damage.
UPDATE‼️‼️ The girl in pink in the third row is OKAY!!! Her name is Kendall Olivarez. Poor baby was shot 5 times but is in recovery 💛 https://t.co/uA3Yv17KFS— illy (@illy_beehive) May 29, 2022
“I think she's doing the best that she can, her condition is stable and good but she has a long recovery," said Melissa Abeyta, Kendall's cousin. Abeyta said the girl was left traumatized after the incident and is still coming to terms with what happened. “She's just very sad, she's very aware of what transpired and she's very aware of her classmates that are no longer with her, and that's made her incredibly emotional," she said.
Last week, an 18-year-old walked into the elementary school and opened fire at children aged between 7 and 11. The shooter killed 19 children and two teachers at the Uvalde school. Some students who survived the shooting said they covered themselves in blood and played dead to avoid getting shot. A few others hid and stayed silent as they heard screams from their classmates.
My littles cousin Kendall Olivarez is in San Antonio.she had her 2nd surgery this morning. She is alive. Refusing to ever come back to Uvalde again. She was shot 5X. Her teacher, when shot, landed on top of Kendall, protecting her from more damage. Her teacher was a hero. https://t.co/VOkNLnj3zQ— JanineATurner (@JanineATurner1) May 27, 2022
Multiple children called 911 begging dispatchers to "send help now" but police reportedly were delayed in their response. Kendall's family said they are aware it could have been a lot worse. A GoFundMe campaign has been started by her aunt, Jennifer Olivarez, to help the family with Kendall's medical expenses and therapy treatment. "She will be needing several surgeries until she is completely healed. All donations to my niece will be greatly appreciated and will go towards her long road to recovery," wrote her aunt. The page has raised over $123,000 to date.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said the state would provide help to those injured and the loved ones of those affected by the tragedy. "Everyone in Uvalde has been profoundly impacted by this tragedy and is overwhelmed with deep grief and bewilderment, and as such, both state and private providers are coming together to offer assistance to everyone in the community," said Abbott in a statement. "Texans are stronger when we stand together in times of hardship, and all of Texas stands with the community of Uvalde."
The governor and other GOP leaders have come under heavy criticism over inaction against restricting access to guns. As he approached the memorial at Robb Elementary School on Sunday, the crowd booed the governor. “Please Governor Abbott, help Uvalde county,” one onlooker shouted. “We need change! We need change, governor!” chanted many, reported The Hill. While people have been calling for gun control measures, Abbott and countless GOP members are adamant the problem is not guns. “There are an array of health issues that relate to those who commit gun crimes. Anyone who suggests we should focus on background checks instead of mental health, I suggest to you it is mistaken,” he said. A Morning Consult and Politico poll conducted a day after the Uvalde shooting showed that 88% of respondents supported background checks on all gun sales.
If you're struggling to cope with grief, and need help, please reach out to Crisis response at 1-800-203-CARE (2273)