Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Brooks Raley revealed on Wednesday that he attended Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where a gunman armed with an AR-15-style rifle opened fire and massacred 19 children and two teachers on Tuesday.
Raley spoke with reporters in the Rays clubhouse about his experience processing the tragedy from his hometown where some of his family still resides.
"I walked those halls. I can’t imagine the experience yesterday."
The shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas hits home for @RaysBaseball pitcher Brooks Raley.
He attended that school and Uvalde HS before moving to College Station. #RaysUp pic.twitter.com/AKv4BFBEnK
— Kyle Burger (@kyle_burger) May 25, 2022
“It’s just a tragedy," Raley said. "Obviously growing up there and going to that school, it kind of hits home. Having young children myself, you just feel for those families and you pray for them and your thoughts are with them.”
"I walked those halls. I can't imagine what they experienced yesterday. I’m feeling for that community. It’s a small, close-knit community, so it’s obviously a tough day today."
Raley, 33, has played seven seasons of MLB baseball across two stints starting in 2012. He grew up in Uvalde and played baseball at Uvalde High School before attending and playing at Texas A&M. He was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the sixth round of the 2009 MLB draft.
Raley told reporters that his brother and his brother's family still live in Uvalde. He learned of the shooting in the Rays clubhouse as Tampa prepared to host the Miami Marlins on Tuesday.
“It’s a pretty small town,” Raley continued. “News travels fast. My family is still there — my brother lives there and his wife and his daughter. So it hits close to home.”
Raley didn't say how old his niece is or if she attends school in Uvalde. Per the Associated Press, Raley declined to discuss any political implications as the latest mass shooting in the United States has renewed calls for increased gun restrictions. The alleged gunman legally purchased two rifles and 375 rounds of ammunition in Texas days before the shooting.