ODESSA, Texas (KMID/KPEJ)- On the fourth anniversary of a mobile mass shooting that left seven people dead on August 31, 2019, we are remembering the victims and the legacies they left behind. 

“Let’s reflect on them and honor them and make sure that everybody knows that those folks didn’t die in vain. We pray for them each and every day,” said Ector County Sheriff Mike Griffis on why it’s so important to remember the fallen.

Leilah Hernandez was just 15 years old when she died and was the youngest victim who lost her life that day. She was shot and killed while shopping for a new car for her brother, who had just graduated. Leilah’s family said after shots rang out, they tried numerous times to call 911 for help, but those calls went unanswered as a panicked community flooded emergency phone lines. 

The Odessa High School sophomore was a member of the basketball team and was described by a former teacher, Adam Cross, as a “sweet girl” who enjoyed working on projects with her peers. 

“Just got along with everybody,” Cross said. “Always smiling and just really polite.”

After her death, Cross presented Leilah’s family with a one-of-a-kind drawing featuring the teen at different stages of her life.

Leilah’s death inspired local law makers to sponsor a bill aimed at keeping future generations safe. State Representative Brooks Landgraf crafted HB 103, known as the Leilah Hernandez Act, after working with the families of victims from the mass shooting. Leilah’s mother, Joanna Leyva, provided powerful testimony in support of the bill at the Texas Capitol, explaining how an active shooter alert system could have saved Leilah’s life.

“The passage of the Leilah Hernandez Act means that Texans will be able to receive timely alerts, similar to Amber alert messages we currently receive, if there is an active shooting taking place in their area. This alert system could have saved the lives of some of my constituents back in 2019, like high school student Leilah Hernandez. The goal of this legislation is to save lives and prevent mass violence while protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding Texans,” Landgraff said upon the bill’s passing.