El Pasoeans begin visiting memorial and reacting to mass shooting

Published: Aug. 7, 2019 at 7:29 PM CDT
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Joe Rodallegas was among the first wave of El Paso natives who stopped by the makeshift memorial on Sunday, the day after the mass shooting attack rocked the border city.

Walmart is a regular stop for Rodallegas and his family, as he live just a block away. He was inside the store less than 24 hours before the shooting.

“We came to buy my grandson some school supplies,” Rodallegas explained. “We were thinking about coming Saturday, but we just said, no we just get it over on Friday.”

Rodallegas, 43, has lived his whole life in El Paso. His son was working inside the Cielo Visita Mall, which is adjacent to the Walmart, when the gunman opened fire inside the store Saturday morning.

“I live here, I went through the whole ordeal from the beginning to now.” Rodallegas explained. “I’m just here trying to pay my respects to the people who lost their lives. It’s pretty scary it happened right here.”

Rodallegas is far from the only one pausing to pay tribute to the innocent lives taken.

“What can you say, our thoughts and our prayers, but unfortunately now a days that is not enough,” El Paso resident Adriana Ruiz said, as she dropped off a bright bouquet of flowers at the memorial.

Before that, U.S. Senator John Cornyn laid an American Flag and personal note, saying El Paso is a wonderful example of Texas culture and bilateral relations.

“To see someone who is so filled with hate drive down here and try to drive a wedge between us is really heartbreaking,” Sen. Cornyn stated.

Rodallegas is holding out hope that the safe and vibrate city of El Paso will resurface stronger in the face of this horrible violence.

“It’ll change it, but for the better, El Paso will be stronger and better,” Rodallegas said.