Round Rock Juneteenth shooting prompts police presence during July 4th celebration

The City of Round Rock is in full preparation mode for one of its biggest events of the year.

On Thursday, July 4, thousands will pack Old Settlers Park to celebrate the Fourth of July. Crews were out on Wednesday afternoon setting up the stage.

But among the white tents and banners, police are already making themselves known. 

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"Safety is a huge priority for the city, and so is the community," said Sara Bustilloz, the communications and marketing director for the City of Round Rock. "We're always looking for a law enforcement presence as well. So, while we can't share the exact details of the operations plan, law enforcement and medical personnel will certainly be out in force and very visible to the public."

Law enforcement presence will be the biggest difference between this July 4th celebration and Juneteenth, which had 22 law enforcement officers present during the mass shooting.

"Sometimes the actual number ebbs and flows a little bit, but they'll absolutely be visible," said Bustilloz. "That's more important to us now than ever."

Bustilloz said with Old Settlers Park sitting on 700 acres, there won't be any barricades or checked entry points.

"These events will remain at this time free and open to the public to come and go as they please," said Bustilloz. "Same thing with our Fourth of July parade here downtown. With so many entry points, that's really not that feasible."

MORE: Round Rock Juneteenth shooting: Second suspect arrested

This is the first big event at Old Settler Park since Juneteenth, when the area was flashing with different kinds of red, white, and blue lights.

"Each person does have to make the choice for themselves if they feel comfortable going to a place with heavy crowds or not, so we respect that decision, but we're still going to be here and offer a fun event for all," said Bustilloz.

The city said it wanted to keep the July 4th tradition going, despite what happened just two weeks ago, with the hopes this moment would be one of unity.

"Joy and grief can live side by side, and we know that certainly there are families still grieving in our community, but we know it's our job, and we feel it's important to continue to bring the community together, because that's what makes us stronger," said Bustilloz.

The parade begins at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, July 4, on Mays Street.

Frontier Days starts at noon at Old Settlers Park with live music, pig racing, and a pepper-eating contest.

A fireworks show will begin after sunset.

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