EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – On the fourth anniversary of the Walmart mass shooting, the El Paso community gathered at the Healing Garden at Ascarate Park to remember the 23 lives lost.
The names of the 23 victims were read one by one, and as each name was read, a light was lit over the victim’s name towards the sky.
“Another year has gone. God has been faithful. The community has worked very hard to come together, to heal and to manifest. El Paso strong. We could not do this without divine intervention,” Pastor for Prince of Peace Michael Grady said during a ceremony Thursday night, at the memorial.
Pastor Grady’s own daughter was shot and injured in the Walmart shooting.
Victims’ family members, people who were at the Walmart the day of the shooting and community members gathered together as the sidewalks of the park were lined with luminarias.
“I came out here because my brother happened to be a part of the Walmart shooting day,” said El Pasoan Gloria Lopez as her eyes filled with tears. “It’s devastating that that happened, it’s very hard., and I couldn’t imagine the feeling that the people that did lose on that one, what they’re going through. If I get emotional like this, I could only imagine them.”
El Pasoan Aaron Vega coming to the memorial on the fourth anniversary to remember the lives lost.
“I came out to honor the victims because I was there, I was there that day,” said Vega.
Gilbert Ortega says his fiancé’s mother was in the Walmart the day of the shooting.
“I don’t think anything like this ever gets easier. When things like this happen again, it always reopens the old scars,” said Ortega.
Numerous family members of victim Arturo Benavidez were at the memorial Thursday evening. His aunt, Maria Carrillo, gave a message to El Paso.
“All I can say is keep El Paso strong. There’s nobody that will ever defeat us. Just El Paso strong,” said Carrillo,