China / World

City unites to remember mass shooting victims

(China Daily Global) Updated: 2019-08-18 10:47

EL PASO, Texas - With "El Paso Strong" shirts on and with the sun setting behind them, thousands of people crowded into a baseball stadium in the Texas city on Wednesday evening to remember the 22 people killed by a gunman at a local Walmart store on Aug 3.

"Words cannot express the heartbreak and loss our community has encountered," El Paso Mayor Dee Margo told the crowd gathered in the US-Mexico border city during the memorial.

"Yet tonight all of the Paso del Norte region stands together to honor those taken from us," he said. "To grieve, comfort, and love one another as a united binational people."

 City unites to remember mass shooting victims

Attendees hold up the flashlights on their phones on Wednesday at Southwest University Park in El Paso, Texas, during a community memorial service for the 22 victims of a mass shooting. Paul Ratje / AFP

The attack on the largely Hispanic community was the first of two recent mass shootings that have rocked the nation and entered the political debate.

El Paso was followed 13 hours later by a mass shooting in a busy nightspot in Dayton, Ohio, that left nine dead.

The memorial came 11 days after the El Paso attacker, who police say drove hours from a Dallas suburb, killed 22 people and injured dozens more. The attacker said he was specifically targeting Mexicans, according to police. El Paso is a largely Hispanic city.

As El Pasoans entered the baseball stadium Wednesday they were greeted by emotional support dogs, brought by a group that has been visiting disaster areas since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.

"Some people said they hadn't smiled since that Saturday, some people hadn't cried yet until they touched the dogs, but that warm fur just starts that emotion," said Janice Marut of Lutheran Church Charities, while memorial visitors played with large golden retrievers.

The baseball infield was dotted with 22 stars made out of luminarias, - paper bags with candles or lights inside-to remember those killed in the El Paso attack along with nine circles commemorating the dead in an Ohio shooting.

The memorial was streamed live on the internet to various places around the city.

The largely Democrat-voting city cheered on Republican Governor Greg Abbott as he said elected officials would meet to discuss hate crimes, gun violence, and domestic terrorism next week.

On the stage along with the governor and El Paso's mayor were Mexican government representatives, taking part to remember the eight Mexican nationals who died in the same attack.

Philadelphia standoff

Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, a gunman who opened fire on police on Wednesday as they were serving a drug warrant, wounding six officers and triggering a standoff that extended into the night, is in police custody, authorities said.

Police Sergeant Eric Gripp said early on Thursday morning that the attacker was taken into custody after an hourslong standoff with police.

The shooting began around 4:30 pm as officers went to a home in a north Philadelphia neighborhood of brick and stone rowhouses to serve a narcotics warrant in an operation "that went awry almost immediately", Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross said.

Many officers "had to escape through windows and doors to get (away) from a barrage of bullets," Ross said.

The six officers who were struck by gunfire have been released from hospitals, Gripp said.

US President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr were briefed on the shooting, officials said.


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