SHELBY, N.C. - A Shelby mom is relieved to have her son back on American soil. Clemson Basketball Guard, Gabe Devoe and the rest of his teammates landed in Atlanta this afternoon.
The team found themselves in the middle of a terrorist attack in Barcelona Thursday evening.
"I didn't think anything would happen," said his mother, Gaye Devoe. "We nomrally travel to every game he plays, whether it's home or away," she said.
Even if that game is 4,000 miles away. Devoe traveled to Spain to follow the team on their exhibition tour across the country. However, she came back a few days early.
"I was really excited about the experience, because it was really a bonding time for the team," she said. "When I got the text message from Gabe, I was really in shock," Devoe recalled.
A van driven into a crowd of pedestrians killed 13 people and injured dozens more. The incident has been called an act of terror by investigators and it happened right in front of the team's hotel. The Tigers were set to board a bus to their final game in Spain a few minutes after after the attack.
"My heart just aches for those families," she said. "It could've been totally different for my family if they had gone outside 10 or 15 minutes earlier. It would've been different for my family," Devoe explained.
Terror a world away has not hit close to home she says.
"Normally, you look on the TV and you see things happening to people, and you just say okay that happened there," she said.
"But when it's your child, it happened to someone you know and love dearly. It just puts a hole in your heart," Devoe explained. "I wasn't there. His dad wasn't there. So the only people they had to lean on was each other."
Her son tweeted, "Glad everyone is safe, this is wild." However, Devoe is worried about the long term effects on her son and his teammates after witnessing such a horrific event.
"I think it really affected him because, he was like, 'It's time to go home. It's time to come home. I'm ready to go home,'" she said. "You want them to experience things in life," Devoe said.
"You don't want them to be afraid to travel, because it is a part of live. Hopefully he will continue to travel."
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