Monday, September 16, 2019


Oh my goodness, friends.  Where to even start.  It has been quite an emotional weekend around here.  Here goes my second post in a row talking about something horrible that will stay with us forever.


I think a lot of you probably saw my posts on Facebook and Instagram about a Friday the 13th we will never forget and I just wanted to say thank you for all the kind words left in the comments on those.  It was the scariest situation that any of my family has ever been.

I gave you the abbreviated version on social media but for those of you want the full story, here it is.

Matthew had a baseball game Friday night at 8.  Craig and Matthew left around 7 because they had to get there early to warm up (Craig is the head coach) and so Mason and I waited a bit and got there around 7:50.  Mason wanted to bring his scooter to the game that night which was fine with me.  He likes to ride around in the big open area between all the fields.

To set this up for you:

We were on Field 3 that night which is the field directly behind the front gates on the right in the picture below. (This is an old picture.) You can see the fence from the field sticking up.  I parked about 5 spaces to the right of the main entrance, on one of the first rows.

Fields 1 & 2 are on the left (out of the shot) and if you continue to walk down a long, wide sidewalk you'll reach Fields 4-6.

Again, this next picture wasn't taken that night but is a picture of us playing on Field 3 previously with Field 5 directly behind us.  And on the other side of Field 5, behind center field is the skate park then the parking lot.

So that night, the game started on this field.  Our team was in the 3rd base dugout and we were up to bat first.  Mason had just brought me his half-finished bag of chips he'd gotten from the concession stand and scootered off again.  I was sitting on the second or third row in the metal bleachers (there were only maybe 6 rows) so I could turn around from time to time to make sure I had eyes on him but honestly, I feel pretty safe at our home away from home.  There are kids running around everywhere and the playground is right there along with the concession stand and 3 fields.  Plus he's a pretty smart, solid and strong 4th grader.  In that kind of setting, I feel like he's fine just doing his thing.

We got through the first 3 batters and were already doing awesome.  Spirits were up and we were excited!  But as our 4th batter stepped into the box, we heard a very loud "bang bang bang bang bang" coming from the area of the baseball fields behind us.  

EVERYONE stopped and looked out towards left field and then around at each other and there were a few nervous laughs.  I remember someone near me saying "That definitely was not fireworks." but it wasn't said in a terrified manner.  Just an observant one.  But no one moved from their seats.  WHY DID NO ONE MOVE?!

There really is that moment where you are frozen and your brain is trying to catch up with what you just heard and process it since the worst thing you can think of is just not a normal situation.  And you also don't want to be the one to freak out and start screaming and running if it really is just fireworks.  So I can understand why we all just sort of sat there for 10-15 seconds.  You just don't expect there to actually be gunshots at a baseball park full of little leaguers in what we consider a "safe little city".

Craig was coaching 3rd base at the time and I remember looking at him and watching him stand up a little straighter than normal and look around just as confused as we all were.  Then the pitcher threw one more pitch and as he did, we heard at least 6 more shots ring out, one after the other in a steady rhythm.  I looked down towards the other fields where the sound seemed to be coming from and saw everyone running.  (You can actually hear the shots ring out from this person's doorbell cam.  The shots start at the end around the :50 mark.)

And it was pure chaos after that.  Coaches started yelling and screaming for the kids to get off the field and RUN, parents screamed and ran to find their kids at the playground and wherever else they'd scattered off to.  And I remember grabbing my purse and water bottle next to me and jumping out of the stands to find Mason.  I spotted him immediately (thank GOD) near the entrance as everyone was starting to hurtle towards him.  He'd stopped on his scooter and was standing there looking at me.  I made eye contact with him and started running toward him as fast as I could but I was wearing rubber flip flops and it's just impossible to run in those.  I almost tripped right out of them so I stopped for a half-second and shouted GO!!!! And waved my hands toward the car as I adjusted my shoes and took off again about 10 yards behind him.  I don't even know why I didn't just take them off.  I remember thinking about it but it was all happening so fast.  I saw him jump back on his scooter and fly off on it to the left, out of the entrance and toward our car.

There were people running all around me but I seriously barely even noticed them.  I was just so focused on getting to where I could lay my eyes on Mason and get him into the car.  I knew Craig had Matthew so I wasn't as worried about him.  As I was running, I saw cars peeling out of the parking lot and out of parking spots.  I watched in horror as one mom and her son came within a foot of getting hit by a car that was backing out of a space very quickly.  Thankfully they stopped in time.

When I did get to the car (it was only about 30 seconds from when I jumped up to run until I made it to the car--but felt like an eternity), Mason was waiting for me with the most terrified look on his face. It almost broke my heart.  My car has a keyless entry so I never get my key fob out. It's just always rolling around the bottom of my purse somewhere.  So I couldn't unlock all the doors until I was close enough.  My door unlocked automatically when I pulled it open but it took me several tries to finally hit the unlock button for the rest of the doors.  The childproof button is right above it so I kept hitting that instead because I was shaking so hard.  

When I finally got the doors unlocked Craig and Matthew were at my car too along with another boy on Matthew's team.  As soon as we got everyone into the car, Craig said that the other player's parents didn't know where he was.  I almost lost it then just thinking of their panic and screamed "Get on your phone!"  I don't know why it came out "Get on your phone!" instead of "Call them!" but it's just what came out.  I remember thinking "Why did I say it like that?"  But as soon as I said that, the boy's mom was banging on the door (I guess she'd seen him get in) trying to get to him and once again, my stupid hands would not stop shaking to unlock the door.  I know she was beyond panicked.  I was INSANELY relieved that they were able to find each other so quickly because I just could not imagine not knowing where my kid was at a time like that.

Then we had to try to pull out of our space.  Cars and people were everywhere.  Craig jumped out to help me pull out safely and the boys almost lost it because they didn't want him to get out of the car.  We raced out of the parking lot along with everyone else and came to the traffic light which leads out of the park and on to the main road.   We decided to go straight just because the left and right-hand turn lanes were backed up and we wanted out of there as fast as possible.  So we went straight and ended up pulling into the parking lot of a school directly across from the park.  We felt safe there since the shots were coming from the opposite end of the park and I called my dad immediately to tell him what was going on.  I don't think he quite grasped the situation at first but he is pretty much the most chill, practical, rational, calmest man ever so he doesn't immediately go to the dark place.  I was able to calm down a lot but the boys were in the backseat still shaking and super upset.  I just kept telling them that it was ok to cry and I know it was so scary but they are so so safe now.

Then Matthew said that he actually SAW the shots fired.  He saw the flash of the gun as it fired and even described it almost like a cartoon.  We learned later on that several kids saw it.  So they now have THAT memory as well.

We sat there and watched at least a dozen cops come flying down the street in the meantime.  I checked Facebook because if you want information immediately, that's where you go.  I saw a post on the Mckinney Moms page saying there was a shooter at the ball fields but we already knew that.  Someone else said that he had run off into a neighborhood nearby (further away from us) and before long there were helicopters in the air searching.

After about 15 minutes, Craig thought it'd be ok to run back over to the field to collect the team's equipment, his phone, his keys, and his truck.  The boys were NOT ok with this.  But we saw that there were several others doing the same thing and there were no police near our field.  From what we'd read, the shooter(s) had fled the opposite way and the cops were on it.  Even still, Craig had me drop him off from the road instead of driving into the parking lot so I could quickly exit back out of the complex.

The ride home was a little surreal.  I had to take the opportunity to talk to my innocent boys about what to do if anything like that ever happens again.  Run, hide, fight.  We talked about just getting OUT OF THERE as fast as you can.  Wherever "there" may be.  Just run as fast as you can away from the sounds of gunfire and yell for everyone else to run too.  But even if they don't--YOU RUN.  We talked about hiding.  I told them to try not to hide in big groups if possible. Look for storage closets that lock, cabinets, ceilings...whatever.  Don't come out of your hiding place until you know 100% that the cops are the one telling you to come out.  We didn't talk much about fighting because I just thought that was too much at the moment.  But we will go over using anything you can find as a weapon and not being afraid to really hurt someone if they are trying to hurt you.

Y'all.  My heart completely shattered into a million pieces as I was telling them this stuff.  But as much as I absolutely hated to do it...I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I had to.  That night had made it all real and it hit far too close to home.  They needed to know what to do if this ever happened again.

When we got home they ran inside and made me turn on all the lights and close all the blinds.  Even though we were now a good 15 minutes away from the action, they still kept saying "What if the bad guy comes into our neighborhood?"  Then they stood waiting for Craig to come home.  He finally did and they seemed to breathe a little easier then.  

I was getting a stream of information from the Mckinney Moms page--not all was true--but it was something to at least keep me informed.  At that point, the story was that 2 groups of teens had planned to meet up at the skate park to fight.  Apparently, the fight got heated and one kid pulled a gun and started shooting into the air.  We also heard someone say "My daughter was there and said she saw at least 2 people dead and two more were shot!".  #wrong  But again, we just had no real facts at this time so it's all we had to go on.

We checked the news to see if there was any coverage (there wasn't) and I went up to my craft room to zone out for a bit and finish a sign because I was wired.  I needed to do something other than sit and stare at the news.  Mason came up with me and curled up on my little Ikea couch and watched TV with me while I finished.  He ended up going back downstairs after a bit and when I finally came down, I found him curled up next to Craig on the couch sound asleep.

 We decided it was time for bed.  Craig and Matthew woke Mason up in some obnoxious way that irritated Mason (and me) but they thought was funny.  It was good to see my people laugh again though.  Mason wanted someone to sleep with him that night so Craig took that one.  I'm a night owl and was absolutely glued to every shooting related thread going on on Facebook.  I knew it would be a while before I actually went to sleep. There were lots of hugs and kisses and prayers and reassurances before lights were turned out.

I, on the other hand, stayed up until 2am stalking the posts just trying to make sense of what the heck happened.  I just needed to know.  I needed to process it and try to make sense of it.  All I knew at that moment was that whoever had fired that gun, reloaded and then fired again, had given hundreds of parents and kids a guttural sense of fear that night.  And I was PISSED.  I wanted whoever it was to rot in jail forever.  I didn't care how old he was or if he was "just a kid" or if he just made a bad choice.  At that moment, all I cared about was MY family and how my innocent children now know what it means to be involved in an active shooter situation.

Honestly, as soon as I heard that second round of shots, the very worst popped into my mind and I'm guessing the same thing popped into everyone else's too.  We all imagined a crazed gunman/gunmen running towards us up the sidewalk just firing at anyone they saw.  Because that's the freaking world we live in today.  That's what we expect when we hear gunfire these days.

The next day, the police released this statement.

So this was the official statement given by the PD.  They say he shot "in the direction of a group of people".  We are all so thankful no one was hurt, especially all of the innocent bystanders. 

I feel so thankful that we were far enough away to get out easily.  I'm thankful that Mason just happened to be right by the gates so he could make a quick escape before the crowd came.  I'm thankful I just so happened to find a parking spot very near the entrance so when Mason DID fly out of there on his scooter, he wasn't having to risk being hit by a car.  I'm thankful that Craig was on the field with Matthew and was able to be with him the whole time.  I'm just so thankful this was not what we all imagined it was going to be.  I'm so thankful that it was not another mass shooting situation.  I'm thankful our worst fears did not come true.

I pray for all of the kids of who were traumatized by this.  My kids woke up acting normal on Saturday morning but they did ask a few questions about if the guy was arrested or not.  So it was still on their minds for sure.  I was so worried about nightmares but so far so good.  I was even a little traumatized.  I was getting into my car at the grocery store on Saturday afternoon and heard a bang behind me and about jumped out of my skin.  It was just an elderly couple loading their groceries into a cooler in the back of their car and the lid slamming shut but it rattled me.

BUT.  Just when you think the world sucks and is full of evil, you get a text in the middle of Sunday School that says someone sent you a gift from Tiff's Treats and wants to schedule a time for it to be delivered.  I showed it to Craig but he just shrugged.  He had no idea what it was about.  I kept thinking "Now who would do that and why???  My birthday isn't for another few weeks."

It turned out to be our neighbor from down the street! She said they'd seen my post and her two kids (who play with Matthew and Mason occasionally but go to a different school) wanted to send cookies to the boys along with big hugs.  How stinkin' sweet is that!?  It absolutely made all of our days and this #ketogirl even ate one!  Ok, I actually had TWO.  The M&M ones are my favorite in case you are wondering.  First real sugar I've had in five months.  Totally worth it. They were amazing.  Thank you so much, Pupp family!!!

I'm glad I can end this on such a sweet note but I still hate that part of their innocence was taken away that night.  And honestly, it's taken some of mine too.  I have never been naive enough to think this couldn't happen to me or my family.  I'm usually the one preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.  So I always knew it could.  But now that it has, in a small way, I definitely feel more fear, more anxiety and will probably be on alert so much more from now on.  I know we are so lucky that this wasn't a real "active shooter" situation.  But we didn't know that at the time.

Hug your babies tight, mamas.  Even if they are big babies and try to squirm away because hugging is just not cool, Mom.  Mason is my squirmer.  He pretends to hate hugs and kisses but I know he really doesn't mind them.  It's just his little game to try and pull away and pretend he doesn't care.  Matthew though is my affectionate one.  He loves to give hugs and lets me hug on him as long as I want to.  And this weekend I wanted ALL THE HUGS.  We are a very tight family but I can already tell that this crazy night brought us even closer.

I hope this is the last time any of us are ever in a situation even remotely similar to what we went through Friday night.  And I'll also be a believer from now on in the craziness that can happen on Friday the 13th with a full moon.

And if you're still with sorry this was a novel.



  1. So glad you and your family are ok. So glad everyone is. I can't even imagine. My worse nightmare.

  2. Amanda, I am so sorry you guys experienced this! Praise the Lord no one was hurt!

  3. So grateful no one was hurt. I can't imagine how scared you all were. And it is sad that in the world we live in today, the conversations you had with your boys have come to be normal..

  4. So scary! So thankful your family is safe!

  5. Thank you for sharing the whole story. It makes me emotional to even read it...can't imagine actually experiencing it. So thankful that everyone is o.k.

  6. Oh my goodness, my heart! I'm so sorry this happened and will keep y'all in my prayers that peace and comfort will come over you guys.

  7. This hits too close to home for me! We live at the ball fields with both of my kids in sports and I have always worried this would happen in the world we live in today. I am sure you are all shaken from the incident and I hope it never happens again!

  8. So many parts in this post made my heart just about stop. So thankful you are okay, and so sorry you had to experience it.

  9. This is just so horrifying. I teared up several times reading this, just thinking about how scary that must've been, and how horrible the whole thing is.

  10. I was teary while reading your post. So glad you are all scary!

  11. So scary Amanda! Glad you are all safe!

  12. What a scary night, I'm so glad that you and your family got home together safe and sound. Amanda, would you consider blurring out the name of the person who was arrested? I understand you shared a screenshot that was posted publicly, but he's still 17, and it hurts to think that this child's privacy is now completely gone. He made some bad choices and it hurts my heart to think of what lead him there.

    1. Hi Lily! I completely understand where you are coming from but no, I won't blur his name for a few reasons. 1) It's already out there, everywhere and was shared directly from our Mckinney Police Department and on the news. If they feel like it's ok then I do too. 2) He will be tried as an adult. He's just a few months from turning 18 and what he did indicates he doesn't see himself as a child 3) For me (and most others), he gave up his rights to privacy on this matter the second he showed up at a crowded park with children and families nearby and chose to fire a gun 10-15 times. In public. It may sound harsh but what he did to hundreds of people that night was worth-at the very least-his privacy on this matter. And he seemed pretty ok with everyone knowing what he was doing. I'll pray for him but I'm not going to go out of my way to protect this "child". This wasn't just some accidental "I made a mistake" night where he went from being a choir boy to falling into the wrong crowd one night. If he would have killed people that night, should his name still be private? I don't think so. I'm sure you and others will disagree but the fact that people know his name is the least of his problems. And it's also public record.

  13. Those who are interested in making a change can visit and find out how to get involved politically to decrease gun violence and access to guns. We shouldn’t have to live like this.

  14. I am so sorry this happened to you and your family and the others involved. The worst day of my life was when my son was a sophomore in high school and I received an automated call from the school that there had been a shooting in the school and for the parents to go to the designated spot for more information. My son was not injured but he (and I) suffered from PTSD and still do, many years later now. Prayers for peace and comfort for you all.

  15. Amanda, as a fellow Keto girl (and Mamma) you certainly earned those cookies! I'm sorry that you and your kids had to experience such a scary event. Hugs to you all!


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