HORIZON, Texas (Reuters) – A number of hundred college students, lecturers and family stuffed a highschool athletic stadium in Texas on Monday to honor a teen of U.S.-Mexican citizenship who was the youngest of 22 killed in a capturing rampage police suspect was pushed by racism.
Javier Rodriguez, 15, was one week into his sophomore yr at Horizon Excessive College, the place he performed on the soccer staff, when he was reduce down by gunfire at a Walmart retailer on Saturday within the west Texas border metropolis of El Paso.
“Javier was only a younger man vigorous, working on this identical stadium we’re in now,” Juan Martinez, superintendent of the Clint Impartial College District exterior El Paso, informed the gang. “He didn’t need to die in a tragedy like this.”
The hour-long memorial service within the El Paso suburb of Horizon opened round twilight with the college principal welcoming Javier’s mother and father and sister onto a stage, the place they launched a white dove into the clear night sky.
A gaggle of lecturers concurrently launched 21 extra doves, one for every of the opposite victims, ranging in age from 23 to 90, most of them with Hispanic surnames.
A 21-year-old white man who police stated drove greater than 600 miles (956 km) from suburban Dallas to El Paso to hold out the capturing spree and surrendered to police on the scene has been charged with capital homicide.
Authorities have stated they’re investigating the rampage as a hate crime, citing a racist, anti-immigrant manifesto posted on-line shortly earlier than the capturing, which they attributed to the suspect, Patrick Crusius.
In it, the writer referred to as the Walmart assault “a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas”.
Martinez stated, “Apparently, Javier was a goal due to the colour of his pores and skin. Javier didn’t select the colour of his pores and skin, nor did I, nor did you.”
Because the superintendent spoke, a member of the highschool band, overcome by emotion, was escorted away sobbing.
Not solely was Javier the youngest killed on Saturday, he maybe as a lot as anybody represented the combined heritage and tradition of El Paso, which along with Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, simply throughout the Rio Grande and the neighboring New Mexico metropolis of Las Cruces, varieties the biggest bi-national, bilingual metropolitan space in North America.
Buddies stated Javier held twin U.S. and Mexican citizenship. Police recognized seven others killed within the assault as Mexican nationals, and one as German. The remainder had been U.S. residents, police stated.
Former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke, an El Paso native in search of the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, additionally spoke, mentioning that Javier’s uncle was among the many wounded, describing the nephew’s life as “an expression of the hope we now have in each other.”
O’Rourke added, “Please perceive that this violence, this hatred is not going to outline this neighborhood, nor will it outline the Rodriguez household.”
The 21 others killed on Saturday had been recognized by police as: Andre Pablo Anchondo, 23; Jordon Anchondo, 24; Arturo Benavidez, 60; Leonard Cipeda Campos, 41, Maria Flores, 77; Raul Flores, 77; Jorge Calvillo Garcia, 61; Adolfo Cerros Hernandez, 68; Alexander Gerhard Hoffman, 66; David Alvah Johnson, 63; Luis Alfonzo Juarez, 90; Maria Eugenia Legarrega Rothe, 58; Elsa Libera Marquez, 57; Marie Loyal, 56; Ivan Hilierto Manzano, 46; Gloria Irma Marquez, 61; Margie Reckard, 63; Sarah Esther Regaldo Moriel, 66; Teresa Sanchez, 82; Angelina Sliva-Elisbee, 86; and Juan Velazquez, 77.
Reporting by Julio-Cesar Chavez in Horizon; Writing by Steve Gorman; Enhancing by Clarence Fernandez