Van Horn locals hold ceremony to honor victims of the 2019 El Paso Walmart shooting
By Shanna Cummings
Over a dozen Van Horn residents gathered at the EDC parking lot on Tuesday morning for a brief ceremony honoring the 23 victims of the August 3, 2019 shooting at the Cielo Vista Walmart in El Paso.
The ceremony included a moment of silence, a brief message and prayer from Van Horn Community Church pastor Ron Buxton, and Taps played by organizer Joe Morales. Twenty-three candles lined up beside the podium represented each of the victims.
Morales organized the event as a memorial for the victims and a form of closure for the community. He wasn’t able to hold the event last year due to Covid restrictions.
“It’s sort of a, maybe, closure for me, personally. But I think it’s something great to honor these people who lost their lives needlessly,” he said.
Pastor Buxton spoke about the El Paso Strong movement emerging in response to the tragedy.
“Amid that great tragedy, something I believe arose within the city of El Paso that would not have…had we not gone through that kind of tragedy,” he said. “On August third, 2019, most of us were caught up in our little worlds and busy, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But suddenly, everything stopped and we focused on the preciousness of each life and its value.”
The shooting struck Van Horn residents particularly hard when they learned the gunman stopped at the local Loves truck stop on the morning of the shooting before driving into El Paso.