EL PASO, Tex. — It’s day two of a sad new reality for the people of El Paso Texas as they try to deal with 20 friends, family and neighbors shot to death and another 26 wounded.
It happened at a Walmart on what had been a peaceful Saturday morning.
People in El Paso say over and over El Paso is a safe, peaceful city where only an outsider would bring such pain. But for now pain is their present and their future.
The peace outside an El Paso school turned reunification center cannot convey the pain inside. This is where families have come to confirm their fears—-that someone they loved did not come home because a simple shopping trip turned into the day they would die.
Inside, families meet with police, someone from the Medical Examiner’s office, and counselors from Red Cross who try to guide them through their grief.
Red Cross Public Information Officer Colin Williams says, “It’s already been very emotional inside there like yesterday, last night, this morning. We expect that it’s going to be even more emotional today as the news comes out and people start to express their feelings to these mental health workers.”
What would bring justice or those families and their grief? At a media briefing Federal and State prosecutors both said they will press charges that could lead to the death penalty: On the Federal level there may be domestic terrorism and hate crime charges. For the State of Texas, capital murder.
El Paso County District Attorney Jamie Esparza says, “The loss of life is certainly so great and certainly we have never seen this in our community. We are a very safe community. We pride ourselves on the fact we are so safe.”
And as they try to console themselves the people of El Paso note the suspect came more than 600 miles from the Dallas area because El Pasoans would never bring such pain to their city.