- Two TikToks purporting to show students evacuating following a school shooting have gone viral.
- The TikToks, which have nearly 12 million views, appear to have been posted by a YES Prep student.
- The school principal was injured in the shooting in Texas on Friday.
TikTok videos purportedly showing the moment students were evacuated out of their school following a shooting, which injured the principal, have gone viral.
The TikToks appear to have been posted by a student at YES Prep Southwest Secondary School, according to comments from the creator and the hashtags added in the caption. The public charter school, which is located in Houston, Texas, had an active shooting incident at approximately 11:45 am on Friday, as Insider previously reported.
Combined, the two TikToks have amassed nearly 12 million views.
In the first of two TikTok videos posted on Saturday, a line of students with their hands up appear to be led out of the school by armed guards. One person leading the line can be heard saying, “it’s okay, keep moving.”
A shattered glass door and blood-spattered floors can also be seen in the footage, with the person filming whispering “oh my god” upon seeing the destruction.
“Well, this happened today,” reads on-screen text. The creator did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The second part of the TikTok shows screenshots of posts purportedly from the Facebook page of Dexter Kelsey, a former student of the school that was charged with aggravated assault against a public servant and deadly conduct in relation to the incident according to Houston police.
Family members and two unnamed sources reportedly told local outlet KHOU 11 that the screenshots circulating came from Kelsey’s now-deleted Facebook account. Insider was unable to independently verify the Facebook account.
The screenshots are intercut with more footage of the school’s blood-smeared floors while Childish Gambino’s “This Is America,” which has been widely interpreted as a response to gun violence in the US, plays in the background. The TikTok creator captioned the post with, “never thought this would actually happen.”
Screenshots of various posts from the same purported Facebook account — several of which have also circulated online on forums like Reddit — suggest that one post was edited on September 30, 2021, the day before the shooting. Purported screenshots of that updated post included a “list” of former and current staff and students from the school that the account wrote were “responsible.”
Eric Espinoza, the school’s principal, was one of the school officials named on the alleged list. As previously reported by Insider, police said Espinoza was injured by the shooting after a bullet grazed his back as he tried to alert students and teachers of the shooter.
According to the Houston Chronicle, the hearing officer at Kelsey’s preliminary trial on Sunday alleged that he was targeting a female staff member in the shooting. The Chronicle reported that the hearing officer said that Kelsey had held a grudge against the staff member since 2015.
The school said in a Facebook post that no students were injured in the incident.
The purported YES Prep student who posted the two TikToks said in the comment section that Espinosa “saved us all from harm.” The user’s TikTok bio links to a GoFundMe campaign raising money “to show appreciation for the courage and effort that Mr. Espinoza took towards the incident that occurred at the Yes Prep Southwest school,” the fundraiser page says.
Houston police said in their press statement that Kelsey was arrested on Friday shortly after the shooting.
According to KHOU 11, Kelsey is currently being held at Harris County Jail, with his bond set at $5.25 million. The station also reported that Kelsey did not appear in court on Monday as scheduled and that his attorney requested a mental health evaluation. Court documents reportedly obtained by KHOU 11 say that Kelsey is due to appear in a Harris County District Court in December.
The Houston Police Department and YES Prep Southwest Secondary School did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.