EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — El Paso victims of violent crime were honored at a memorial service Sunday morning at the El Paso Crime Victims Memorial in the Lower Valley.
The names of victims who died due to violent crime in 2019 were read aloud in the special ceremony. This year, there was a total of 76 names read, including the victims killed in last year’s Aug. 3 Walmart shooting, and added to the memorial.
Family members of the victims gathered as loved ones’ names were read and a bell was rung for each victim.
For family members, the ceremony was a way to feel less isolated.
“It’s really nice that they do things like this — I never knew they had a memorial,” said Linda Castro, who lost her 18-year-old daughter to gun violence on July 13, 2019. “So when this happened to my daughter, it was shocking; like, ‘wow, there are a lot of names.’ Names that we don’t even know.”
Built in 2009, the memorial now has more than 1,700 names.
The annual memorial service is held in April but was delayed this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
El Paso District Attorney Jaime Esparza, who will retire at the end of the year, explained that while El Paso is a safe city, there are still victims of violent crime. The memorial is a chance to honor those victims, he said.
“Victims need to have a voice in the criminal justice system,” Esparza said.