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One of the student injured in MSU shooting is the daughter of migrant farm workers


Tonight the community of East Lansing, Mich., and people from the surrounding area are gathering for a vigil to honor the students killed and wounded in a mass shooting on Michigan State University's campus Monday night. Three students lost their lives. Five others remain hospitalized. One of those struggling to recover is the child of migrant workers.

Michelle Jokisch Polo from member station WKAR reports.

MICHELLE JOKISCH POLO, BYLINE: On Monday evening, Guadalupe Huapilla-Perez was one of the students caught in the crossfire of the gunman responsible for the mass shooting. She's a junior studying hospitality and business. Her close friends call her Lupe or Lupita (ph). Leeslie Herrera is one of her best friends. The two met through MSU's College Assistance Migrant Program, or CAMP. It's a program that specializes in supporting children of migrant farmworkers attending college. Herrera says she found out in the early morning hours on Tuesday that Lupe was one of the victims and was hospitalized.

LEESLIE HERRERA: She underwent surgery and is now stable.

JOKISCH POLO: Herrera says the CAMP community on campus is really tight-knit and is struggling to come to terms with what happened on Monday.

HERRERA: I know a lot of us, like, are really glad that we made it out safe and in time.

JOKISCH POLO: And, she says, they're also really sorry about all the others who didn't. A hospital spokesperson says Lupe and the other four students who survived the shooting remain in critical condition.

In a web posting, Lupe's older sister, Selena, describes Lupe as incredibly hardworking, focused and ambitious. She says Lupe chose a career path that's never been explored by someone in her family. The Huapilla-Perez family lives in South Florida, but during crop-harvesting season, they travel across the country to pick fruits and vegetables. Lupe grew up doing that work. The director of CAMP at Michigan State, Luis Garcia, says students like Lupe often have the additional responsibility of working several jobs while going to school to try and support their families back home.

LUIS GARCIA: If you tell students what distinguishes a CAMP's scholar from a regular, you'll find that many of our students are sending money home. On the contrary, the general student body is receiving funds from home.

JOKISCH POLO: Now the Huapilla-Perez family is facing a harsh financial reality. Doctors have told them that the process for Lupe's full recovery could take months of care and rehabilitation. Because Lupe doesn't have health insurance, the entire cost of her care would fall on her family. That's why the family has set up a GoFundMe page. MSU's CAMP office is also working to support the family with any additional expenses. Today Guadalupe Huapilla-Perez's family arrived in the Lansing area and plan to stay here until Lupe is released from the hospital.

For NPR News, I'm Michelle Jokisch Polo in East Lansing.

(SOUNDBITE OF JE WEEZY SONG, "TROUBLES") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Michelle Jokisch Polo
As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community. Michelle is also the voice of WKAR's weekend news programs.

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