- Guadalupe Huapilla-Perez is one of five students who was critically injured during a mass shooting at Michigan State University
- Huapilla-Perez is from south Florida and comes from a family of migrant workers
- Her recovery could take months, family says: “She is a long way from returning to us as she was”
Guadalupe Huapilla-Perez is the daughter of migrants, president of her high school’s 2020 graduating class, an active sorority member and a junior studying hospitality business at Michigan State University.
Her family describes her as a “leader in the community and beyond” who has never shied away from speaking out for those with marginalized voices.
As of Wednesday afternoon, she remains hospitalized in critical condition after she was among those attacked during a mass shooting at Michigan State University.
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Police say Lansing resident Anthony McRae opened fire in MSU’s Berkey Hall and then in the MSU Union on Monday night, killing three and injuring five others before fleeing campus and eventually fatally shooting himself.
Huapilla-Perez is one of five hospitalized student victims of the shooting who remain in critical condition at Sparrow Hospital as of Wednesday. Four of the individuals required surgery, hospital officials said. One, who did not, was taken directly to the critical care unit after being triaged in the emergency room.
Hospital officials and Michigan State University police are not currently naming the five injured students. Police previously identified the three students who were killed in the mass shooting as Alexandria Verner, Brian Fraser and Arielle Diamond Anderson.
Huapilla-Perez’s family elected to identify her condition publicly in a GoFundMe fundraiser, noting that they traveled to Michigan from South Florida to be with her and are anticipating a months-long recovery process.
“She is a long way from returning to us as she was,” her sister, Selena Huapilla-Perez, wrote on the fundraiser page. “Doctors tell us that even in improving conditions, the process for a full recovery will take months of care and subsequent rehabilitation.”
The family set a fundraising goal of $50,000, citing mounting medical bills that would put them under financial strain the longer they spent away from their migrant work in Florida. As of Wednesday afternoon, the campaign has raised more than $264,000.
Prior to attending Michigan State University, Guadalupe Huapilla-Perez graduated from Immokalee High School, where she served as class president.
According to the Naples Daily News, Huapilla-Perez helped organize a community parade to celebrate her high school graduating class, which was unable to hold a traditional graduation ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The newspaper reported Huapilla-Perez hung a Michigan State flag on a truck, accompanied by “Class of 2020” balloons.
“I will always remember that my community came together and did all of these things to make every senior feel special, feel appreciated and that everything was worth it,” Huapilla-Perez told the newspaper at the time.
In a statement sent to Immokalee High School staff and provided to the Southwest Florida news station Fox 4, Immokalee High School Principal Clara Calderon said she’d been in touch with Huapilla-Perez’s sister and asked recipients to please keep Guadalupe Huapilla-Perez and her family “in your prayers.”
As a student at MSU, Huapilla-Perez participated in the Michigan State University College Assistance Migrant Program, a federally funded program that offers students with migrant or seasonal farm work backgrounds academic, social and financial support during their freshman year.
Selena Huapilla-Perez described her sister as “incredibly hard-working, focused, and ambitious, choosing a career path that’s never been explored in our family.”
“It allows her to travel, learn, and challenge herself,” she wrote on the GoFundMe page.
Guadalupe Huapilla-Perez was also active in Michigan State University’s Theta Alpha chapter of Sigma Lambda Gamma, a national multicultural sorority.
“Our chapter is doing as well as we can be,” the group posted in a statement. “We are taking the next couple of days to process and be there for our sibling and her family.”
Friends took to social media to share Huapilla-Perez’s GoFundMe page and pay tribute to her. One friend, Yessenia Peredo, wrote on Facebook that Huapilla-Perez “is a kind person and spreads so much joy and positivity to those around her.”
“I love her very deeply and pray for her recovery,” Peredo wrote.