El Paso marchers de­cry racism and gun vi­o­lence

Tri-City Herald (Sunday) - - Front Page - BY CEDAR ATTANASIO

More than 100 peo­ple marched through the Texas bor­der city of El Paso on Sat­ur­day, de­nounc­ing racism and call­ing for stronger gun laws one week af­ter 22 peo­ple were killed in a mass shoot­ing that au­tho­riat ties say was car­ried out by a man tar­get­ing Mex­i­cans.

Chant­ing “gun re­form now,” “El Paso strong” and “aqui es­ta­mos y no nos va­mos” – Span­ish for “here we are and we are not leav­ing” – the marchers in­cluded His­panic, white and black peo­ple dressed in white to sym­bol­ize peace and car­ry­ing 22 white wooden crosses to rep­re­sent the vic­tims of the shoot­ing an El Paso Wal­mart.

The man charged with cap­i­tal mur­der in the at­tack, 21-yearold Pa­trick Cru­sius, told in­ves­ti­ga­tors he tar­geted Mex­i­cans at the store with an AK-47 ri­fle, an El Paso de­tec­tive said in an ar­rest af­fi­davit. Fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors have said they’re weigh­ing hate-crime charges.

Jes­sica Coca Gar­cia, who was among those wounded in the shoot­ing, spoke to those gath­ered at the League of United Latin Amer­i­can Cit­i­zens’ “March for a United Amer­ica.”

“Racism is some­thing I al­ways wanted to think didn’t ex­ist. Ob­vi­ously, it does,” Coca Gar­cia said af­ter ris­ing from a wheel­chair. Ban­dages cov­ered gun­shot wounds to her leg.

“I love you, El Paso,” she said, her voice crack­ing. “This is where I’m go­ing to stay.”

Also Sat­ur­day in El Paso, a re­quiem Mass was of­fered for 15-year-old Javier Amir Ro­driguez, a high school sopho­more and avid soc­cer player who was at the Wal­mart with his un­cle when he was killed.

Burial was also sched­uled for Jor­dan An­chondo, who died shield­ing her in­fant son from gun­fire. Her 2-month-old son was treated for bro­ken bones, but was or­phaned af­ter Jor­dan and her hus­band, An­dre, were killed.

CEDAR ATTANASIO AP

Jes­sica Coca Gar­cia, who was wounded in the mass shoot­ing, spoke Sat­ur­day at the “March For a United Amer­ica” in El Paso.

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