Families of the 23 El Paso Walmart shooting victims have a new place to remember loved ones

Local

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — On the second-year mark of one of El Paso’s most tragic events, the El Paso Healing Garden was unveiled to the families of the 23 Walmart mass shooting victims and the public.

On August 3, 2019, a lone gunman walked into the Cielo Vista Walmart in East El Paso and opened fire. 23 people were killed, several dozen injured, and hundreds of thousands of families and people were impacted by this tragedy.

El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego led a project to create a permanent memorial for the community to not just mourn the lives lost, but heal together in a safe and unified place.

The El Paso Healing Garden was created with the help of the El Paso Community Foundation and dozens of donations.

On Tuesday evening, the County held a private ceremony for the 23 families joined by local leaders and officials.

Officials from U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser to celebrity George Lopez spoke at the ceremony, reflecting on how the community showed resiliency in the moments, days and months following the mass shooting.

While August 3 is a day of a heartbreaking reminder of the tragedy that took place at the local Walmart, for El Paso it’s all about healing.

The father of the youngest victim, Javier Amir Rodriguez, 15, told KTSM events like this help the families feel supported and give them another place to heal.

“From the moment I got the call saying that my son was hurt, it feels like it was just yesterday,” Fransisco Rodriguez, his father, said. “It’s a good thing the city (county) is doing this, it’s another spot, another location where the families can come and sit down, relax and enjoy and can come to talk to their families.”

The Healing Garden highlights 23 plaques with the 23 names of the victims killed along with lights and water features.

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