The chilling words stunned Logan Ketterer in a text the morning of Aug. 3.
Just 10 minutes from where he was sightseeing with family members in El Paso, Texas, a mass shooting was taking place at a Walmart on the city’s east side.
Ketterer, a former soccer standout at The Prairie School who plays professionally for the El Paso Locomotive FC of the United Soccer League, was gripped with apprehension. What if the shooter was headed their way?
The Ketterer family didn’t hesitate. Logan; his wife of eight months, Courtney; his parents, Brian and Denise; and his grandfather, Richard Sigura; promptly retreated for home.
“We got in the car pretty quick and headed out of there,” said the 25-year-old Ketterer, a 2012 Prairie graduate who is the starting goalkeeper for the Locomotive. “We went home and stayed inside, sheltered in, just trying to avoid what was going on. Then it kind of cleared and they said it was no longer an active scene.”
As the numbing events unfolded, it was reported that 20 people had been killed and 24 more injured that morning in what is the deadliest mass shooting in the United States this year. The death toll would rise to 22.
Patrick Wood Crusius, 21, went to a nearby intersection and identified himself to a motorcycle officer as the shooter. He was arrested and has been charged with capital murder.
‘Lines going around the building’
Meanwhile, Ketterer did what he could to help. He took to social media and spread the word that volunteers and blood donations were urgently needed.
“Our main goal was to just to try to get out the word that anyone who was able to should get out and donate blood and whatever food you can,” Ketterer said. “I’m dealing with a little bit of an injury (to his right quad, which has sidelined him since July 17) and I’m nursing myself back to health. I asked our two doctors if it was right for me to donate blood and they said it was probably not a good idea.
“But in the long run, we did whatever we could.”
There was a silver lining that has endured after this tragedy and that is the El Paso community coming together.
Ketterer saw it for himself within hours after the shooting when he left his apartment for a pregame meal (the Locomotive’s game that day against the Portland Timbers 2 ended up being postponed). Across the street from his apartment complex on South Mesa Hills Drive is Vitalant, an El Paso blood bank, and what Ketterer saw warmed his heart.
“We saw just lines going around the building,” he said. “It was just incredible. I’ve never seen that place that packed before.”
That was just the start of a general sense of goodwill Ketterer has noticed since the shooting, which was followed hours later by another massacre in Dayton that left 10 people dead.
‘People are more friendly’
Instead of being left to contemplate what this world is coming to, as countless people certainly have since these latest rounds of shootings, Ketterer has instead been comforted by the capabilities of mankind.
“I think the general thing that I’ve seen when I’ve gone grocery shopping or whatever is you see people are more friendly,” Ketterer said. “Everyone’s kind of giving you a little wave, a little nod. We’re all going through the same thing together.
“You just see everyone’s a little more friendly, a little more caring. El Paso seems to be like a family all the time. They taken us in and they’ve been so great to my wife and I in terms of support.
“It’s just great to see the connection that the human beings have.”
That genuine love extended into the El Paso soccer community. The EP Fusion, a girls 11-and-younger team, was holding their annual fundraiser at the Walmart while the deadly attack occurred. Two Fusion coaches were wounded in the attack.
“The soccer community has really rallied around this El Paso Fusion youth team,” Ketterer said. “A couple of our guys shared info about donation links about GoFundMes. Huge soccer players from around the world have been re-tweeting it and donating.
“The last time I checked, Jozy Altidore (of the U.S. National team) donated five grand, someone from the women’s national team is donating soccer balls for these girls to use for training this year.
“Big donations have been coming from the community for this poor team that was just trying to raise money for jerseys or whatever. Businesses from all over are coming through with sponsorships and whatever they can.
“I’m working with sponsors trying to get goalie gloves for their girl goalies. You see everyone doing what they can to help in any way they can. That’s the best thing to see.”
How has this tragedy changed Ketterer?
“That’s a tough one,” he said. “You just have to think that life is short and crazy things happen. But live in the moment and enjoy whatever time there is with loved ones that you have.
“Try to live the best life that you can.”