YES Prep Southwest principal released from hospital after being injured during shooting, police say

Students said the principal ‘saved their lives’

Principal was released home after the shooting

HOUSTON – Students of YES Prep Southwest Academy credited their principal with confronting the gunman.

Eric Espinoza, the principal at YES Prep, was confirmed by the school and the administrator who was injured during the shooting. Friday night, Houston police said Espinoza had been released from the hospital after being shot in the lower back.

“Principal Eric Espinoza was taken to the hospital after a bullet grazed him from behind, and he is expected to be released [Friday],” YES Prep wrote in a letter to parents and released to KPRC 2.

Details of Espinoza’s interaction with the gunman were not released by Houston police Friday. However, multiple students gave accounts of Espinoza confronting the gunman near the school’s entrance.

“As I was walking into the office, I saw there was glass shattered and blood. So, me, thinking, ‘My principal got shot.’ He did while trying to protect us,” said Destiny, a student at YES Prep Southwest Academy.

According to a bio on the school’s website, Espinoza has been a principal with the charter school system since 2017. His affiliation with the organization stretches back to high school.

“Eric graduated from YES Prep Southeast Secondary in 2003,” according to YES Prep.

As students and parents awaited word of Espinoza’s condition, they thanked him for protecting them.

In a letter to families, YES Prep administrators said counselors would be available over the weekend for students.

“We cannot imagine the terror you must have felt as the events unfolded. Today’s shocking incident is one that no student, parent or educator should ever have to go through or cope with on their own,” district officials said.

YES Prep confirmed classes are canceled at the Southwest campus from Oct. 4 - Oct. 6. Officials said they would meet with students and families before classes would resume.


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Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. NOLA born and bred, though #HoustonStrong, with stops in Minnesota, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut in along the way.