Community rallies behind Washington MS after fatal shooting - Albuquerque Journal

Community rallies behind Washington MS after fatal shooting

The community was rattled in August when 13-year-old Bennie Hargrove was killed by a peer at Washington Middle School while he was trying to de-escalate a violent situation.

Bennie Hargrove (Courtesy of Vanessa Sawyer)

Hargrove has since been hailed a hero, not only by local police and his classmates, but by adults in the community. One of them is Len Romano, the owner of Ripe Inc. and a board member for the West Downtown Business Group, an organization of local companies whose storefronts are located within blocks of the school.

Romano, with other members of the community, wanted to find a way to help the school. So they came up with three ideas.

The first was a T-shirt for all the students and staff that says: “Washington Middle School Strong.”

The shirts were designed by Romano’s shop, which does graphic design.

Next, the West Downtown Business group raised enough funds to have Garcia’s Kitchen cater lunches for teachers and staff.

“The principal (Modesta Hernandez) said that morale was really low and that the staff would appreciate the community letting them know that they are thinking of them, and how could we do that?” Romano asked. “We could send some lunches to them every month until the end of the year.”

Hernandez said the lunches brought unity to the staff following the tragic incident.

“We were lost and fallen,” Hernandez said. “We were struggling. It gave us a place to gather and to smile again.”

Board member Rudy Garcia says together the groups came up with a third idea: to build a tree sanctuary at the school where kids can spend time outside, express themselves and begin to heal. The project is scheduled to break ground in the spring. Kids will work with science faculty to help design the space.

KKOB news radio will air this story Friday as part of its Good News Files.


“The Good News Files” is a collaboration between the Albuquerque Journal, 96.3 News Radio KKOB and KOAT-TV. The stories highlight good news stories in the community.

 


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

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