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