The city of El Paso suffered a great tragedy, on August 3, a mass shooting at the Cielo Vista Walmart killed 22 people and injured 24 others. Also, among the deceased were 4 children. A city that was once known in the top 10 safest cities in the United States but is now tainted by this tragic event.
The gunman, A 21-year-old from Allen, TX located in the Dallas metropolitan area, Patrick Crusius seemed to have an anti-Hispanic motivation. Crusius’ motivation for the shooting forced authorities to treat it as an act of domestic terrorism. The El Paso shooting is now the 8th deadliest shooting in modern United States history.
On that day according to the El Paso police department, the shooter began his attack by firing at victims in the Walmart parking lot. Outside there was a girl’s youth soccer team the EP Fusion, the girls are all 11 and younger. Two of the coaches had been wounded and one lady near-by was also struck while she loaded her groceries. After his firing in the parking lot, the gunman entered the west entrance of the Walmart where he continued his massacre.
The sounds of screaming, gunshots, helicopters and police sirens is all that resonates through the minds of those who survived this dark day. A Cielo Vista Sears employee, Susie Morales said, all she could hear was chaos, “they were screaming there was an active shooter, run, run I didn’t know what was going on.” Morales was asked to shut the doors of the Sears, saving those that she could and leaving those she couldn’t behind. Morales did all in her power to save as many people as she could, but she is still haunted with the difficult decision to this day. “I remember seeing their faces of fear, that’s what torments me the most,” Morales said.
Two days after the shooting 20 white crosses were placed in front of the Walmart, on them painted the names of each victim. Later El Paso learned that two more had died from injuries suffered. One El Paso resident believes that the memorial was not enough to mend the wounds of this tragedy. Michel Domina said, “It needs to be looked at. Is hate speech free speech? These hate groups are not going to stop unless we do something about it.”
For those who have never been to El Paso here is a sense of what the local residents are like. The border town is greatly diverse, bordering Mexico and New Mexico along with having one of the largest army bases in the United States, El Paso encounters people of all backgrounds and ethnicities. El Paso resident Gloria Domina said, “we are a community where be bond, from the far east to the west side.” Hours after the shooting the hashtag El Paso Strong was created as a symbol of the unity of this city. Moments after the shooting blood donation facilities were filled with people. Rumor has it that people waited six hours to donate and eventually had to be turned away. According to the El Paso Del Norte Foundation, almost $5 million were raised for the families of those affected. Local funeral homes offered to pay the cost of services for those lost as well. Hundreds of El Paso residents attended resident Antonio Bosco’s wife’s funeral in support of Bosco losing his last living family member in the shooting.
The city of El Paso will forever be scarred by this day, the names of those lost will never be forgotten, but this multi-racial community will forever stay strong.