HOUSTON - 22 days have passed since 19-year old Cesar Cortes was shot to death, reportedly by a Bellaire High School classmate who brought the weapon to campus.
Prosecutors investigating the case believe the killing was accidental.
Traumatized by the senseless loss and driven to prevent its replication, Bellaire student Izzy Richards delivered a powerful call for change to a group of City of Houston leaders willing to listen.
"We want educational programs in schools, such as the Be-SMART program by Moms Demand Action, because we know that 78 percent of school shooters under the age 18 get their firearms from their home, a family member's home or from a friend's home. We can no longer ignore safe storage," said Richards.
Richards classmate Ioana Nechiti urged members of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee to seek solutions beyond metal detectors and armed security - and address the societal deficits which to often contribute to violence on campus.
"There are also other ways to take precautionary measures such as providing counseling services or education so that people don't bring guns to school in the first place. It's because people don't feel safe that we have to create a safe space for them to really gain an education," said Nechiti.
Richards underscored her call for action by reminding Council members that of the six campus shootings across the nation so far this year, four have occurred in Texas.