EL PASO, TX (KTSM) – Friday would have been the day the youngest of the Walmart shooting victims would have received his diploma.
Javier Rodriguez was just 15-years-old and attending Horizon High School when he was killed along with 22 others on August 3, 2019.
His parents attending what should have been their son’s graduation.
“It’s something that was taken away from us and it hurts, it really hurts,” said Francisco Javier Rodriguez, the Father of Javier Rodriguez.
One graduate walking across the stage on Friday saying Javier was his best friend.
“I’m kind of sad because he couldn’t enjoy this moment, but I feel happy that right now he would be here happy with us,” said Elio Rios a Horizon High School Graduate
A seat will be left empty during the graduation with Javier’s cap and gown draped over it. After the ceremony the cap and gown will be given to the Rodriguez family.
“For this particular parent, they don’t get to experience the joy of seeing Javi walk through the hallways of the Don Haskins Center,” said Dr. Jaun Martinez the Superintendent for the Clint Independent School District.
Javier’s principal at Horizon High School, Elena Acosta, shared her memories with KTSM 9 News.
“He used to do something with his hair, he had his hair kind of long on top and that was always his signature move, and his smile.”
The Superintendent remembers Javier as a soccer player, saying he’s had a photo of him hanging in his office since the shooting.
Dr. Martinez adds that the recent school shooting in Uvalde that killed 19 children and two teachers reminded him of what he said at a vigil held for Javier after the El Paso mass shooting.
“In that vigil, I said not one more, not our children please do not and here we are again morning the lives of more children, tragedy after tragedy and that is absolutely unacceptable and unthinkable,” said Martinez.
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