EL PASO, TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) — The community of El Paso continues to mourn as they come to grips with yesterday’s mass shooting, where a lone gunman opened fire inside a Walmart and killed 20 people.
The city’s mayor, Dee Margo, has declared the event a “local disaster.”
And the second day of disbelief and heartbreak was capped off with song and prayers at an evening vigil where thousands came to share in their grief.
El Paso resident Patricia Almeida said she thinks her town is “trying to heal from the disbelief and the shock.”
Like Almeida, countless of other El Pasoans are left trying to come to terms with the reality that the city, which was known as one of the safest, has become the site of yet another mass shooting in the U.S.
El Paso native and presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke was also here to express his emotions with the community.
“All the love and the encouragement and the strength that you are seeing in El Paso… The shooting will not define us,” O’Rourke said. “The way we come back together, that’s what will define us.”
Crowds even packed Sunday masses to pray and look for any sense of community and comfort.
Another resident of El Paso, Lorenzo Noriega Jr., believes in the power of prayer. He said sometimes people doesn’t think it does anything, but it does.
At a nearby family re-unification center, a young woman received the dreadful news about one of her loved ones death and said the worst part in all of this is the innocent people who died, and she hopes those who can do something, effect change.
Meanwhile, authorities say the full weight of the law will come down on the 21-year old they say is responsible, for what they’re calling a domestic act of terror.
El Paso District Attorney Jaime Esparza said the state charge is capital murder, making the gunman eligible for the death penalty.
“I will seek the death penalty,” he said.
Bodies have been removed from the Walmart store, and although some families are announcing the deaths of their loved ones on social media, there has not yet been any official word on names or ages from authorities.