San Antonio Vigil For El Paso Remembers Victims And Demands Changes To Gun Laws

By Joey Palacios, Texas Public Radio

A vigil in downtown San Antonio Sunday night paid respects to the victims of the El Paso mass shooting. More than 150 people gathered in Main Plaza to reflect on the loss of life and demand reforms to gun laws.

Carmen Tafolla, the Alamo City’s former poet laureate, read the names of some of the El Paso victims.

“We are Jordan Achondo,” she called out, “who died from your hail of bullets.”

(Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio)

Attendees at the vigil held signs that read “Praying for El Paso” or “Gun Control Now.” Several speakers urged legislative reforms to gun laws, including instituting universal background checks. Others urged the audience members to contact their lawmakers.

Roxanne Mojica said the mass shooting hit close to home for her.

“These are my people,” she said, “regardless of the color of skin, race, religion, creed. You know, this could have happened to any town anywhere, you know, and hopefully of El Paso know there are people all around the country thinking about them, praying for them and mourning their loss.”

Joshua Ortega is an El Paso native. He recalled how he would frequently visit the mall next to the Walmart where the shooting happened. He said when he heard of the incident, he took immediate action.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg addressed the vigil. (Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio)

“I was calling people nonstop,” he said. “I was calling my friends. Calling them just making sure that they’re okay. I didn’t know what to think. Everyone was okay. But I don’t understand why I’m feeling like this even though everyone was okay.”

The incident in El Paso was the third mass shooting in Texas in less than two years. Authorities believe the 21-year-old shooter wrote a manifesto with anti-immigrant and anti-Latino rhetoric. They said they would treat the shooting as a case of domestic terrorism.

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