Local News

Local man remembers Odessa teacher killed in recent shooting

VICTORIA, Texas - Less than a month after the mass shooting in El Paso, another one occurred just hours away in the Midland Odessa area.

The recent shooting in Odessa claimed the lives of seven people. The loss hit close to home in the Crossroads.

40 year old Joseph Griffith was one of the seven people killed in Saturdays shooting. A former math teacher, Griffith was said to have a close bond with his students and endless devotion to his family. One man remembers classes with him fondly. 

"He was one of those positive guys, when you would see him in the hallway he was one of those people that would greet the students. Everybody just really liked him. He was one of those people that you would recommend to the underclassmen, like 'hey. Take this guy," tells Landon Bretz, Victoria Television Group.

The father of two was sitting at a traffic light with his wife and two children when he was shot and killed by the gunman. His sister says that the family is in shock, and doesn't want people to forget.  

"The one thing I just can't express enough is that I do not want people to forget about my brother. We see this kind of thing all the time on the television, self included, we watch the tv, and we see family members of people who've been slain through gun violence," tells Carla Byrne, Sister of Joseph Griffith.

Just hours after the shooting in Odessa, new gun laws that actually decreased regulation of who could own and purchase weapons in Texas went into effect. But investigators say the gunman failed a background check, and must have attained the weapon illegally. 

"The background check was run through the national system, the NICS system. The NICS system did work when he tried to buy a gun, he was denied a gun," adds John Wester, ATF.

Griffith's sister says tearfully that she doesn't know what the answers are to solve the gun violence, but knows that we can no longer sit by and allow the violence to continue. 

"This is an issue about humanity. We can't sit idly by anymore and feel bad for people and just go on about our day," declares Byrne.

Landon Bretz, echoing those sentiments, saying that violence will always find away, so we must work together to find solutions.

Just one month after the El Paso shooting that occurred at one of its stores, Walmart releasing today that they will no longer sell short barrel rifle and handgun ammunition after it runs out of inventory. 

In Odessa today, officials are asking city employees to wear yellow as a way to remember those who died in the rampage and to symbolize hope.


Crossroads Region News

Stay In the Know