Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Brooks Raley said he found the recent mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, particularly disturbing.
Raley grew up in the town in the west of San Antonio, which consists roughly of 16,000 people. He went to school in the building where the shooting took place, in the town where his parents and brother still reside.
“It’s a pretty small town,” Raley said in a statement on Wednesday. “News travels fast. My family is still there, my brother lives there, and his wife and daughter. So, it hits close to home.”
When Raley found out that 19 children and two adults had been murdered at his former school, he was in the Tampa Bay Rays clubhouse at Tropicana Field. The shooting took place less than an hour before a game against the Miami Marlins.
Raley said that the news was difficult to process for him, saying “I was just sitting in here and heard something and didn’t really follow up because we were about 40 minutes before the game”.
“I got to talk to my parents, just to get a little bit of background and get as much information as you can,” explained Raley. “I did go to that school. I walked those halls, so I can imagine what they experience each day, and I’m feeling for that community,” he added. “It’s small and a close-knit community, so it’s obviously tough. I don’t know if there’s anything I can do. It’s going to take time.”
Raley hesitant to comment on incident
A two-sport star at Uvalde High School, Raley moved away from home in 2009 to attend Texas A&M University before being picked by the Chicago Cubs. He has not returned since. His wife, Rachel, and their three daughters currently live in College Station, Texas.
“It’s the biggest city west of San Antonio,” he said of his hometown. “I mean, we’ve got an H&B and a Walmart and a couple fast-food joints. Not a whole lot there.”
Raley explained that his reluctance to speak publicly about the tragedy was partly due to the many unsolved questions surrounding the incident.
“It’s just a tragedy. Obviously growing up there and going to that school, it kind of hits home,” the 33-year-old pitcher said. “Having young children myself, you just feel for those families, and you pray for them and your thoughts are with them.”
The tragedy ranks as the second-worst school shooting in the history of the United States after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut, in 2012, in which twenty students and six teachers were killed in the attack.
Raley is in his debut year with the Rays right now. On Wednesday night, the left-handed reliever had made 14 appearances before the game against the Marlins, compiling a record of 1-0 with a 2.25 earned run average and three saves. He made his debut in the major leagues with the Chicago Cubs in 2012. Prior to being hired by the Rays, he also pitched for the Cincinnati Reds and the Houston Astros.