An El Paso resident spent the days following the August 3 mass shooting documenting community members’ activism and unity as the city tried to recover from the deadly attack at a local Walmart last Saturday.
A gunman opened fire in the store, killing at least 22 people and injuring at least 26 more.
This footage – taken by freelance photojournalist and El Paso resident Gaby Velasquez – shows community members gathering at the Walmart memorial site, marked by crosses, flowers, and candles for the victims. The video also shows local artist Gabe Vasquez, co-creator of an “El Paso Strong” mural near Cotton Street and Arizona Avenue.
Vasquez said he wanted the mural, created in response to the shooting, to be a city “landmark.” Velasquez told Storyful her mom was working at Macy’s at Cielo Vista Mall next to the Walmart when the shooting began on Saturday.
Velasquez said her mom called to tell her the mall was being evacuated due to nearby gunfire.
Since the shooting, Velasquez said she’s attended as many rallies, vigils, and community events as she could.
Velasquez said she stopped by the Walmart with her younger brother on Monday to take photos and said she “wasn’t expecting anyone to be there.” But when Velasquez approached the site of the shooting, she said she saw “so many” people leaving flowers, holding hands, and praying.
Vasquez, the artist, said in the video, “On top I’m going to put a rose,” as he gestured to the mural.
“I’ll put a rose because that’s what you take to a funeral.
So this is the rose that I brought, me and my friends, you know?
Because it’s the only one we have to give.” Credit: Gaby Velasquez via Storyful